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FINCHALE PRIORY

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A Benedictine monastery and associated outbuildings of various dates between 1196 and 1538, situated in a bend of the River Wear. It was built on the site of the hermitage of St Godric, (1115-1170). Goderic was a former well-travelled seafarer who became a charasmatic hermit. The development of the standing fabric of the buildings is complex, with phases of construction identified from the late 12th century, the early 13th century, later 13th century, 14th century, 15th Century and some post-dissolution work. Fragments of 14th century wall painting remain on some of the piers on the south side of the nave. During the 14th century when the resident community of Monks declined i nnumbers, Finchale was used as a "holiday" retreat or hostel for monks from Durham. After the dissolution much of the complex fell into ruins, with some possible selective "landscaping" through demolition in the 18th century to create what was thought at the time to be a more aesthetic appearance. The barn at the priory complex (situated to the west of the main priory buildings) was probably built in the 17th century (timbers from the barn have felling dates in the 1670s-80s) but incorporates timbers that were from earlier structures, using timbers felled in the 15th century. The "Priory Farmhouse" situated to the north of the main priory has a roof structure which is composed of timbers felled in a single operation in 1369, it is not clear what function the building originally served in Medieval times. The site is in the care of English Heritage.

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Further information about monuments may be obtained by contacting Archive Services, through the Historic England website.