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Historic England Research Records

Ware Priory

Hob Uid: 367570
Location :
Hertfordshire
East Hertfordshire
Ware
Grid Ref : TL3571014480
Summary : 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.
More information : An alien Benedictine Priory was founded at Ware before 1081 and was dissolved in 1414. It was one of the most important alien houses in England, and probably maintained some thirteen monks in the thirteenth century. The priory was granted to the Carthusians of Sheen. (1)

The foundation of the Benedictine priory at Ware, was due to High de Grentemaisnil's gift of the church tithe, and 2 carucates of land (a) to the abbey of St. Evroul in Normandy (b). There is no evidence when the house was built. Apparently the earliest reference to it occurs in a charter of William Bishop of Lincoln c. 1203-6 (c). The Countess Margaret between 1204 and 1235 built a great hall, a large chamber and a chapel. (d). In 1414 the priory was suppressed, and the King granted it in 1415 to his new foundation at Sheen. (e) A list of priors exists from 1174 to 1414. (2)

"There are no remains of the priory, but the old rectory (now called the manor house) may possibly mark the site of the monastic buildings." (3)

"Having been told that there was an idea that the old rectory, now known as the Manor House, was a priory, I inspected the house ... and am of the opinion that it was probably a building standing at the south-east angle of the cloisters, and that the upper floor, which contains some very early woodwork, was the dormitory of the alien priory ..... The area of the land on the north side of the churchyard on which the schools and Rectory stand is a sufficient indication that this is the site of the Benedictine Priory." (4)

"No traces of the domestic buildings remain ... but it appears probable that the priory stood immediately east of St. Mary's Church [TL 3562 1443] on the site bounded by Dead Lane [now called Church Street] on the east and north, and West Street on the south, as a barn called Corpus Christi barn [TL31SE45] adjoined Dead Lane." (5)

The old Rectory was built early in the 17th century, but has been greatly altered in the 18th and 19th centuries. (6)

[TL 3570 1448] Manor House, Grade II, 2 storeys. Plastered timber framing and brick, 19th century irregular fenestration.Good brick stack at rear. Old tile roof. Interior contains good oak panelled room of mid 17th century date with carved overmantal, also other 17th century oak panelling in other parts of house. 17th century and later. (7)

The Manor House (nameplate) is as described by Auth. 7, but its identification with the Priory buildings must be considered unlikely, both architecturally and positionally. Unfortunately the restoration of the Priory church (TL 31 SE 4 - now the parish church) has erased any clues as to the physical relationship between church and buildings and in the absence of firm evidence elsewhere any attempt to site them would be purely speculative. (8)

No 9 Church Street, (The Manor House), Grade 2* (shown on OS 1:1250 1974 at TL 35711448). Of two storeys, cement rendered with an old tiled roof, of the 17th century and earlier with later alterations. The interior contains heavy timbers suggesting Medieval framing. Probably once part of the Benedictine Priory of Ware, suppressed in 1414. (9-10)

Listed. (11)

Sewer trenches dug across the Priory gardens in 1954 and 1977 revealed substantial foundations interpreted as forming part of the friary church. A large cedar was blown down in 1990 in the vicinity of the foundations revealed by the sewer trenches. A further fragment of friary buildings was revealed. This appears to form part of the same building revealed in 1954 and 1977, and may be interpreted as either the church or may from part of a closed court. (12)

Evaluation targeted areas of proposed disturbance during renovation and visitor works in 1992. Trenches 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. (13)


Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Medieval religious houses : England and Wales
Source details :
Page(s) : 91
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : The Victoria history of the county of Hertford, volume four
Source details :
Page(s) : 455-7
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 6
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Memorials of Old Herts., 1905, pp. 55-7. (P.C. Standing).
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 7
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : Min. of Town & Country Planning. Ref. No. 1776/11/A.May, 1948, p.4.
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 8
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 CFW 05-AUG-60
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 9
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : DOE (HHR) Ware UD Herts 14.3.74 18
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 10
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 1:1250 1974
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 11
Source : Medieval religious houses in England and Wales
Source details :
Page(s) : 93
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 12
Source : Hertfordshire archaeology
Source details :
Page(s) : 23-Jun
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 11, 1993
Source Number : 13
Source : Hertfordshire Archaeological Trust reports
Source details : Report No.30, 1992
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2A
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Charter of William I from Ordericus Vitalis (Mon. Angl. vol, 2, 1682, p. 966, Dugdale).
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 2b
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Ibid
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 2c
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Round. Cal. Doc. France 227.
Page(s) :
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2d
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Assize R. 1256, m.39 (12 Edward I).
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 2e
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Parl. R. v. 365.
Page(s) :
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Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3
Source : The Victoria history of the county of Hertford, volume three
Source details :
Page(s) : 382
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 4
Source : Transactions of the East Hertfordshire Archaeological Society
Source details : H. P. Pollard
Page(s) : 119-32
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 3, 1905-7
Source Number : 5
Source : An inventory of the historical monuments in Hertfordshire
Source details :
Page(s) : 229
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Founded pre 1081
Monument End Date : 1081
Monument Start Date : 1081
Monument Type : Benedictine Alien Cell, Alien Priory
Evidence : Documentary Evidence, Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Priory dissolved 1414
Monument End Date : 1414
Monument Start Date : 1414
Monument Type : Alien Priory, Benedictine Alien Cell
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit, Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Built 17thC
Monument End Date : 1700
Monument Start Date : 1601
Monument Type : Manor House
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Altered 18thC
Monument End Date : 1800
Monument Start Date : 1701
Monument Type : Manor House
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Altered 19thC
Monument End Date : 1900
Monument Start Date : 1801
Monument Type : Manor House
Evidence : Extant Building

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Hertfordshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 4014
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Hertfordshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 4005
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : TL 31 SE 4
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 367669
Relationship type :

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : FIELD OBSERVATION ON TL 31 SE 4
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1960-08-05
End Date : 1960-08-05
Associated Activities : WARE GRAVEYARD
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1973-01-01
End Date : 1973-12-31
Associated Activities : WARE PRIORY
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1977-01-01
End Date : 1977-12-31
Associated Activities : MANOR HOUSE, 9 CHURCH STREET
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1985-01-01
End Date : 1985-12-31
Associated Activities : WARE PRIORY
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 1992-01-01
End Date : 1992-12-31
Associated Activities : WARE PRIORY
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1993-01-01
End Date : 1994-12-31
Associated Activities : WARE PRIORY GARDENS
Activity type : GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY
Start Date : 2002-01-01
End Date : 2002-12-31