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WARE PRIORY

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The site of an alien Benedictine Priory founded at Ware before 1081. It was one of the most important alien houses in England, and probably maintained some thirteen monks in the thirteenth century. The church and other endowments were granted to the Abbey of St Evroul before 1231. The priory was dissolved in 1414 and granted to the Carthusians of Sheen. The old rectory or manor house was built on the site early in the 17th century and was altered in the 18th and 19th centuries. It was previously thought that this manor house may have been part of one of the claustral buildings, however investigations have shown this to not be the case. The Church of St Mary (Monument Number 367669), which was the conventual church, has been so altered that the relationship between it and the claustral buildings has been lost or hidden.

Some of the early remains have been revealed by sewer trenches dug across the Priory gardens in 1954 and 1977. Substantial foundations were uncovered which have been interpreted as forming part of the friary church. In 1990 a further fragment was found which has been interpreted as being part of either the church or of a closed court. Further work in 1992 identified parts of the friary church north of the surviving complex, an eastward extension of the south cloister range, and to the south west probable remains of the friary kitchens.

The 17th century two-storey manor house consists of plastered timber framing and a tiled roof with internal oak panelled rooms. Later alterations include 19th century windows.

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