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Historic England Research Records

Hexham Priory

Hob Uid: 18622
Location :
Northumberland
Hexham
Grid Ref : NY9351064090
Summary : The site was originally a monastic church built in 674 AD by St Wilfrid. From 678 to 821 AD it was a cathedral, however in 875 it was destroyed by the Vikings. It was refounded as a Priory in 1113 for Augustinian canons and dissolved in 1537. Excavations from 1984-93 located the early monastic complex beneath the nave of the present abbey church. There was undoubtedly a second church, St Mary's, on the site, probably a little to the south-east of the main priory church, which was dedicated to St Andrew. The Anglian monastic church was aisled, the south aisle being wider than the north, as at Jarrow. The east end of the church has not been definitively located, but would not have extended much beyond the crypt. There was also a separate apsidal chapel to the east of the church and crypt, which was axially aligned with them. A little evidence for the Romanesque foundation has come to light, and tentatively shows an apsidal church with cloister to the south. It is not certain how much of the pre-Conquest structure was retained in the Romanesque church beyond the south wall of the nave. In the late 12th to early 13th century, the whole eastern end of the site was demolished and remodelled on a much enlarged scale, and the cloister was also enlarged. The church is still in use and the gatehouse and chapterhouse are incorporated in later buildings. The choir, transepts and tower are circa 1180; the nave was burnt 1296 and rebuilt in 1908 by Temple Moor. Much recent restoration. Embattled crossing tower. 5 bay aisled chancel, the easternmost taken down and rebuilt slightly higher circa 1858; fragments of possibly late-Saxon apse below. 3 bay transepts with eastern aisles. South bay of south transept has slype with gallery to night stairs above. 6 bay nave.Various Roman altar stones and other Roman inscriptions have also been found within the church.
More information : [Centred NY 93516409] ABBEY [GT] (AUGUSTINIAN) [GT] (Remains of) (1)

The church at Hexham was built, AD 674-8, by St. Wilfred, Bishop of York. It was dedicated to St Andrew and, in 681, became a cathedral. After 821 it was placed under Lindisfarne and became a monastery. In 875 it was burnt by the Danes. Subsequently it was appropriated by Durham and, after the conquest, it passed to York and was constituted as a priory of Canons Regular of St Augustine, in 1113. A strong gatehouse was built, pre-mid 12th century and a new church begun c.1189. It was suppressed in 1536, but only after resistance which led to the Pilgrimage of Grace.

There are three Roman stones here:-

(i) A Roman tombstone nearly 9 feet in height was found below the ground in the Slype. It bears the figure of a mounted Roman of high rank, carrying a standard and riding down an enemy. The panel below the figure is inscribed:-

DIS MANIBVS FLAVINVS
EQ ALAE PETR SIGNIFER
TVR CANDIDI AN XXV
STIP VII H.S.

It is now in a recess at the foot of the right stair in the south transept.

(ii) The arch of the doorway to the north passage of the crypt is a Roman altar stone bearing the inscription:- APOLLO MAPONO

(iii) In the flat roof at the end of the north passage of the crypt is a portion of an Imperial inscription. When the soil above was being removed in 1907 a fragment of this inscription was discovered. This fragment is now in the wall behind the NW door. The inscription with the addition of this fragment reads:-

IMP CAES L SEP SEVERVS PI
PERTINAX ET IMP CAES M
AVR ANTONINVS PIVS AVG
VS ET PVB SEPTIM
CAES COHORTEM ..... M
VEXILLATIONEM
FECERVNT SVB

The name of the Emperor GETA has been erased from the slab. (2-5)

The church is in normal use. Furnishings also include two Roman altars at the W end of the nave (one inscribed) and a portable Roman altar in the north wall.
See map diagram for subordinate components. (6)

5334 BEAUMONT STREET (North-West Side). The Claustral Buildings of the former Augustinian Priory of St Andrew now incorporated in Hexham Court House and Hexham House Clinic (formerly listed as Remains of the Abbey)

NY 9364 1/2 2.10.51.

I GV
2.
C13 Vestibule to Chapterhouse to south of south transept: ruins now incorporated in the St Cuthbert Chapel [1955]. Nothing significant remains of the Chapterhouse itself.
Lavatorium: circa 1280 on wall of undercroft to south-west of west end of nave. 7 crocketted pointed arches corbelled above now walled-in trough. Blind tracery.
Undercroft: south-west of west end of nave. Segmental barrel vault with chamfered ribs.
Prior's House: C15 and C16 to west of undercroft and facing Prior's Court. Practically nothing left after repeated fire damage and early C19 ashlar rebuilding, except for Prior Leschman's window on north side above gateway to Prior's Court. Cusped and crocketted ogee arch with coat of arms as finial charged with the saltire cross of the Priory with a tall crest and supported by naked figures. 4 corbel masks below window and a leaf pattern panel. The C19 rebuilding is 2 storeys, 8 windows to south (glazing bar sashes) with a segmental archway to northern courtyard. Crenellated on north side. The Carnaby Block: dated 1539. Very much altered. North-west of west end of nave and north of Prior's House. 2 storeys, 5 windows. Rough ashlar. Crenellated with chevron bedmould. 1, 2 and 3 light mullion windows with 4 centre arched and moulded heads. Ground floor has had 3 segmental archways inserted, 2 partly glazed, one now a doorway. Elevation returned to west to The East range: early C19 above the undercroft. 1+3+3+2 windows on 1st floor. Plate glass sashes. Ashlar. Steps to 1st floor on left. Roof hipped to left. 3 tall eaves chimneys. Ballroom with wood ceiling now court room. Returned to south: rubble. 2+4 windows, glazing bar sashes. Reeded doorcase with hood. Scheduled AM [Nos 51a and 51b].

Hexham Court House, together with the Priory Church of St Andrew, Market Place form a group.

5334 COWGARTH

The Priory Gatehouse
(St Wilfred's Gateway)
(Formerly listed under
Market Street)
NY 9364 1/9 2.10.51.

2.
Circa 1160. Former 2 storey ashlar gatehouse now a 3 bay arched gateway. Upper storey and vaults destroyed in early C19 for picturesque effect. Wall ribs and corbels remain. Round arches spanning road, gateway to west. Piers to 1st bay from north.
Scheduled as an AM.

The Priory Gatehouse together with No 3 Church Row and Nos 2 to 6 (even) Market Street [reverse front of Church Row] form a group, of which Nos 2 and 8 to 16 (even) Market Street are of local interest.

5334 MARKET PLACE

The Priory Church of
St Andrews'
NY 9364 1/1 2.10.51.

A GV

2.
Former Augustinian Priory. Originally founded by St Wilfrid circa 673 - the crypt dates this period. The choir, transepts and tower are circa 1180; the nave was burnt 1296 and rebuilt in 1908 by Temple Moor. Much recent restoration. Embattled crossing tower. 5 bay aisled chancel, the easternmost taken down and rebuilt slightly higher circa 1858; fragments of possibly late-Saxon apse below. 3 bay transepts with eastern aisles. South bay of south transept has slype with gallery to night stairs above. 6 bay nave. Exterior uniformly early English, apart from decorated tracery of nave windows. Lancets, corbel table etc.
Interior also chiefly Early English, much restored and altered. Wooden ceiling, vaulted aisles, with dado arcades, to transepts and chancel. High stilted arches on west wall of north transept with clustered shafts. 2 chantries - to Prior Ogle (d. 1410), and to Prior Leschman (1480-91), the latter with a cowled effigy and much rude stone sculpture. Early C15 sedilia with painted panels, including the dance of death. Delicate Rood Screen (1491-1523) with panel painting and rich woodwork. Misericords in stalls. Font at west end of nave with, for base, part of a pilier cantonne from the north transept with a dog tooth central shaft. Interior also contains several monuments: relief of a Roman standard bearer; St Acca's Cross [C7], cross base with Crucifixion from the Spital, the Frith Stool, or St Wilfrid's chair and various fragments built in the nave walls.

St Andrew's Church together with the listed buildings in the Market Place, form a group, of which Nos 8, 10 and 16 are of local interest. (7)

NY 9350 6410. Remains of Medieval Priory and Anglo-Saxon monastery under and around Hexham Abbey and its precincts. Scheduled. (8)

Detailed description of excavations from 1984-93, with phase plans and interpretations of the sequence of priory buildings from the Anglian period until the Dissolution. (9)

Please refer to this source for more information. (10)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 25" 1922
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Farquhar, Rev J V C, 1935. The Saxon Cathedral and Priory Church of St Andrew, Hexham (plan illusts)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3
Source : Medieval religious houses : England and Wales
Source details :
Page(s) : 140
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 4
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Collingwood, W G, 1927. Pre-Norman Northumbrian Crosses (various pp)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 5
Source : Archaeologia Aeliana : or miscellaneous tracts relating to antiquity
Source details :
Page(s) : 63-205
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 20, 1923
Source Number : 6
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 RWE 08-FEB-1966
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 7
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : DOE (HHR) Hexham Area, Northum May 1976 12 21 56
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 8
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : English Heritage Record Form, Plan, 31-5-89
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 9
Source : Medieval religious houses in England and Wales
Source details :
Page(s) : 474
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 10
Source : Archaeologia Aeliana : or miscellaneous tracts relating to antiquity
Source details :
Page(s) : 51-138
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 23, 1995

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : Roman
Monument End Date : 410
Monument Start Date : 43
Monument Type : Tombstone
Evidence : Structure
Monument Period Name : Early Medieval
Display Date : established
Monument End Date : 674
Monument Start Date : 674
Monument Type : Monastery, Crypt, Church
Evidence : Documentary Evidence, Structure
Monument Period Name : Early Medieval
Display Date : Extant
Monument End Date : 821
Monument Start Date : 678
Monument Type : Cathedral
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Early Medieval
Display Date : Destroyed 875
Monument End Date : 875
Monument Start Date : 875
Monument Type : Cathedral
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Refounded 1113
Monument End Date : 1113
Monument Start Date : 1113
Monument Type : Augustinian Monastery, Priory, Church, Gatehouse, Undercroft, Chapter House
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Dissolved 1537
Monument End Date : 1537
Monument Start Date : 1537
Monument Type : Church, Gatehouse
Evidence : Extant Building

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : ND 51
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 239164
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Unified Designation System UID
External Cross Reference Number : 1006593
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Unified Designation System UID
External Cross Reference Number : 1042576
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : NY 96 SW 1
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 20526
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 18723
Relationship type :

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, ST WILFRITH'S CHURCH, HEXHAM PRIORY
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1881-01-01
End Date : 1908-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, HEXHAM PRIORY
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1978-01-01
End Date : 1978-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, HEXHAM PRIORY (VESTIBULE)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1984-01-01
End Date : 1984-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, MARKET PLACE/BEAUMONT STREET
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1990-01-01
End Date : 1990-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, HEXHAM PRIORY
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 1991-01-01
End Date : 1992-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, HEXHAM PRIORY
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1993-01-01
End Date : 1993-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, HEXHAM ABBEY (SOUTH-EAST AND EAST OF THE PRIORY CHURCH)
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1993-01-01
End Date : 1993-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, HEXHAM TOWN CENTRE
Activity type : GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY
Start Date : 1995-01-01
End Date : 1995-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, HEXHAM ABBEY CROSSING
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1996-01-01
End Date : 1996-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, HEXHAM ABBEY
Activity type : GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY
Start Date : 1996-01-01
End Date : 1996-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, HEXHAM ABBEY CHURCH
Activity type : GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY
Start Date : 1996-01-01
End Date : 1997-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, HEXHAM ABBEY VISITOR CENTRE
Activity type : DESK BASED ASSESSMENT
Start Date : 1997-01-01
End Date : 1997-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, ST WILFRID'S GATE
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1997-01-01
End Date : 1997-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, HEXHAM ABBEY GROUNDS
Activity type : DESK BASED ASSESSMENT
Start Date : 1999-01-01
End Date : 1999-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, BATTLE HILL, HEXHAM
Activity type : DESK BASED ASSESSMENT
Start Date : 1999-01-01
End Date : 1999-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, HEXHAM ABBEY GROUNDS
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 2000-01-01
End Date : 2000-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, HEXHAM ABBEY GROUNDS
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2001-01-01
End Date : 2001-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, TYNEDALE MAGISTRATES COURTS
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2003-01-01
End Date : 2003-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, HEXHAM ABBEY: FLOODLIGHTS INSTALLATION
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2003-01-01
End Date : 2003-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, 3-7 ST MARY'S CHARE
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2005-01-01
End Date : 2005-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, HEXHAM ABBEY GROUNDS
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2006-01-01
End Date : 2006-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, HEXHAM ABBEY WATER MAIN
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2007-01-01
End Date : 2007-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, ST MARY'S WYND/ST MARY'S CHARE
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2009-01-01
End Date : 2009-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, LAND AT HEXHAM PRIORY
Activity type : DESK BASED ASSESSMENT
Start Date : 2012-01-01
End Date : 2012-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, HEXHAM ABBEY CAR PARK
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2017-01-01
End Date : 2017-12-31