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MAXSTOKE PRIORY

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Maxstoke Priory: The remains of a Medieval Augustinian Priory founded in 1336. The foundation was confirmed by charter in 1337; the priory buildings were dedicated in 1342. The priory was dedicated to " the honour of the Holy Trinity, the Blessed Virgin, St Michael and all Saints". It was dissolved in 1536; in 1538 it was granted to Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk who then sold it on to a London Goldsmith. The principal surviving architectural components of the site are a fragment of the crossing tower, the west end of a building thought to be the infirmary, the inner gatehouse (now Priory Farm), the outer gatehouse, and a fragment of a store building. In addition the site is defined and compartmentalised by sandstone walling, which is remarkable as the near complete survival of the precinct walls. Earthworks within the central enclosure may be seen to relate to the excavated claustral ranges and possible sub-division of this area into closes. Excavations in the 1870s produced a complete plan of the priory, showing the church to be cruciform, the nave and quire of equal length, and with transepts and a central tower. The claustral range was South of the church, and consisted of the chapter house, refectory, dormitory and parlour. A large earthwork fishpond survives in the west compartment and a further fishpond may be defined to the east. In January 1986 a substantial part of the priory church collapsed. The collapse destroyed the arch to the south transept, though its eastern jamb remained intact. Rubble from the collapse of the tower fell across the site of the north side of the nave, obscuring any remains which may have been visible.

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