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Southwick Priory

Hob Uid: 238499
Location :
Hampshire
Winchester
Southwick and Widley
Grid Ref : SU6300708398
Summary : The ruins of Southwick Priory, a priory of Augustinian Canons, built between 1145 and 1153. Southwick Priory has been traditionally regarded as having been founded in 1133 by Henry I, however research has established that the priory was actually founded a few years earlier in 1128-9, by William de Pont de l'Arche, chamberlain and sheriff of Hampshire. Between 1145 and 1153 indulgences were granted by the Archbishop of Canterbury to establish the canons at Southwick. Henry VI was married to Margaret of Anjou in the priory church in 1445. The priory was formally dissolved on 7th April 1538 as part of Henry VIII's Dissolution of the Monasteries, and the domestic buildings were converted into a house for John White. This burnt down and a completely new house, Southwick Park, was built on a separate site in the early 19th century. Some parts of the abbey ruins were maintained as a romantic garden feature or folly.Little remains of the priory apart from a short stretch of stone wall which may have been the vaulted lower storey of a chamber attached to the Prior's lodging or part of the refectory. There are other fragments of foundations to the south of the wall and surface irregularities indicate extensive foundations. To the east of the priory is an area known as The Slopes, which are cultivation terraces and are said to be the remains of the priory's vineyard. Excavations carried out in the 1980s have revealed a unique lavabo, probably of the late 12th century, and three graves which were probably part of the Priory cemetery. The site is in the care of English Heritage.
More information : (SU 62890844) Southwick Priory [GT] AD 1133 (Remains of)

(SU 63040837) The Slopes [TI]. (1)

A Priory of Austin Canons, originally founded 1133, in the Church of St Mary, Portchester (SU 60 SW 7) (3) but moved to a hide of land in Southwick, granted by Henry I (4) between 1145 and 1153.Suppressed and formally surrendered on 7th April 1538.
'The Slopes' are terraces said to be the remains of the priory vineyards. (2-6)

All that remains of the priory is a stone wall 'A' - 'B', circa 36 metres long, 4-5 metres high and 1 metre thick - pierced by a doorway and two windows, with arch springers along its southern side - patched with brickwork and waterproof cement and now forming part of the boundary of the "Wilderness". No suggestion can be made as to what part of the Priory this wall represents, nor is there any local tradition as to its purpose. To its north at the west end are a few indeterminate fragments of wall foundations and a fairly modern brick drain. There are other fragments of foundations to the south of the wall and, further south, irregularities of the surface indicate extensive foundations completely buried, but no recognisable plan can be distinguished.

"The Slopes" to the east, on a gentle southern slope, are cultivation terraces, averaging about 1 metre in height, obviously associated with the Priory.

The present Southwick House, now "HMS Dryad" contains no old work, but is a splendid example of early nineteenth century architecture and landscape gardening, the lodges, park wall (partly a ha-ha) and fishpond all being part of the same layout, although the latter (centred at SU 63250827) doubtless occupies the sites of the monastic fishponds. (7)

No change: published NSL 1:2500 revised (slopes of cultivation terraces). (8)

A unique lavabo, probably of the late 12th century, was discovered in 1984 and removed for conservation. The architectural frieze, representing the Celestial city, repeats a theme found in contemporary manuscripts, such as the Winchester Bible or in rare sculptural scenes such as the Chichester Cathedral reliefs. (9)

During excavations of the fishponds (SU 60 NW 63), three graves, probably part of the Priory cemetery, were discovered. (10)

Please refer to this source for information. (11)

Southwick Priory was under Augustinian rule. Traditionally regarded as having been founded 1133 by Henry I, but research has established that the actual founder was William de Pont de l'Arche, chamberlain and sheriff of Hampshire, probably a few years earlier, around 1128-9. William died circa 1148; within a few years afterwards the Archbishop of Canterbury is recorded as having written a letter commenting on the confined space at Portchester, and granting indulgences to anyone helping the canons to establish themselves at Southwick. [This information based on Katharine Hanna's edition of the Southwick Priory Cartulary, 1988-9, I,20; II, 968-9 and Emma Mason, "The King, the Chamberlain, and Southwick Priory", Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research, 53, 1980; information about the life of William de Pont de l'Arche from Mr Alan King.] (12)

Southwick Priory was a house of Augustinian Canons, who moved to this site from Portchester Castle in the C12th (1133 AD). Henry VI was married to Margaret of Anjou in the priory church in 1445. At the dissolution in 1538, the priory church was demolished, but the domestic buildings were converted into a house. This was rebuilt early in the C19th, but this was burnt down in 1807, and a completely new house, Southwick Park, was built on a new site. Some parts of the ruins were kept as a romantic garden feature.
The surviving remains consist of a short stretch of wall, which may have been the vaulted lower storey of a chamber attached to the Prior's lodging. (13)

The remains (part of the refectory wall survives) of a once wealthy Augustinian priory. It was originally founded in Portchester and was once a famous place of pilgrimage. (14)

Please refer to the Winchester Historic Environment Record for further references on the priory. (15)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 25" 1941
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Source Number : 2
Source : Medieval religious houses : England and Wales
Source details :
Page(s) : 153
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Source Number : 11
Source : Medieval religious houses in England and Wales
Source details :
Page(s) : 174
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Source Number : 12
Source : Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments
Source details : E-mail correspondence from Mr Alan King, Historical Collections Librarian, Portsmouth, received 14-JUN-2007
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Source Number : 13
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : 13-Oct-82
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Source Number : 14
Source : English Heritage Visitor Handbook 2009/10
Source details :
Page(s) : 76
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Source Number : 15
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : Heritage Gateway. 2009. Winchester HER & Winchester UAD, MWC4320, [Accessed 29-APR-2009]
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Source : SU 60 NW 6 (St Mary's Priory and The Slopes) (1955)
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Source : SU 60 NW 6 (St Mary's Priory & The Slopes) (SU 6208) (1969)
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Source : SU 60 NW 6 (St Mary's Priory & The Slopes) (SU 6308) (1969)
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Source Number : 3
Source : A history of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, volume two
Source details :
Page(s) : 164-8
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Source Number : 4
Source : The Victoria history of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, volume three
Source details :
Page(s) : 161-3
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Source Number : 5
Source : Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club and Archaeological Society
Source details : (G H Green)
Page(s) : 317-26
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Vol(s) : 5, 1904-6
Source Number : 6
Source : An introduction to field archaeology as illustrated by Hampshire
Source details :
Page(s) : 267
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Source Number : 7
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 VJB 10-AUG-55
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Source Number : 8
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F2 ASP 13-JAN-69
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Source Number : 9
Source : Hampshire Field Club and Archaeological Society section newsletters
Source details :
Page(s) : 27-29
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Vol(s) : 3 SPRING 1985
Source Number : 10
Source : Archaeology today
Source details : Nov-87
Page(s) : 29-30
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Originally founded 1128-9
Monument End Date : 1129
Monument Start Date : 1128
Monument Type : Priory, Augustinian Monastery
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Moved to Southwick 1145-53
Monument End Date : 1153
Monument Start Date : 1145
Monument Type : Augustinian Monastery, Cultivation Terrace, Priory, Vineyard
Evidence : Ruined Building, Earthwork, Conjectural Evidence
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Medieval feature
Monument End Date : 1538
Monument Start Date : 1145
Monument Type : Fishpond
Evidence : Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Late 12th century fragment
Monument End Date : 1200
Monument Start Date : 1167
Monument Type : Architectural Fragment
Evidence : Find, Architectural Component
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Suppressed 1538
Monument End Date : 1538
Monument Start Date : 1538
Monument Type : Augustinian Monastery, Priory
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Rebuilt 1801-07
Monument End Date : 1807
Monument Start Date : 1801
Monument Type : House
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Converted post 1807
Monument End Date : 1807
Monument Start Date : 1807
Monument Type : Folly
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Tudor
Display Date : Converted into a house post 1538
Monument End Date :
Monument Start Date : 1538
Monument Type : House
Evidence : Documentary Evidence

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : HA 204
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : UAD Number (Winchester)
External Cross Reference Number : MWC4320
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SU 60 NW 6
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 461980
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 238724
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 859339
Relationship type :

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SU 60 NW 6
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1955-08-10
End Date : 1955-08-10
Associated Activities : Primary, ST MARY'S PRIORY, SOUTHWICK
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1967-01-01
End Date : 1967-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SU 60 NW 6
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1969-01-13
End Date : 1969-01-13
Associated Activities : Primary, SOUTHWICK PRIORY
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1987-01-01
End Date : 1987-12-31