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ROWNEY PRIORY

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A small priory for Benedictine nuns founded in honour of St John Baptist circa 1164. In the mid 15th century much of the priory was in ruins and in 1457 it was handed over to John Fray, chief baron of the Exchequer who established a Chantry. This was confiscated by the Crown in 1548 and a country house was built during the mid 19th century on its site and is said to incorporate fabric from the priory. The house is H-shaped on plan, has two storeys and is built of knapped flint with white brick quoins and dressings, and steep old red tile roofs. The building has been subdivided into two houses.

Excavations in 1953 recorded several graves, thought to be part of the priory cemetery. The inhumations were orientate west-east, with the head to the west. No traces of coffins were observed. The cemetery site is now part of a rose garden. Hitching documents that James Pulham and Son worked on the gardens of Rowney Priory at the turn of the 20th century.

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