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Historic England Research Records

Bodmin Priory

Hob Uid: 431308
Location :
Cornwall
Cornwall
Bodmin
Grid Ref : SX0738066950
Summary : St Petroc's Priory. Monastery allegedly founded in the 6th century. In 936 it was recorded as reformed to the Benedictine rule, possibly as a nunnery, and from 1124 until the Dissolution in 1539 it was under Augustinian rule. Excavations have revealed Early Mediaeval activity prior to the monastery's construction, but no Early Mediaeval monastic features, or the Mediaeval monasteries. The North aisle of the church was excavated and seen to end in a West tower. It was built in the 12th or 13th centuries, and the east end of the church appears to have been rebuilt about the same time. After the Dissolution, the church was used for secular purposes, including metal-casting.
More information : (SX 07386695) Priory on site of (NAT) St. Petrock`s Priory (NR) (1)

A monastery is said to have been founded at Bodmin by St. Petroc in the 6th century. Tanner records British monks following the rule of St. Benedict about 936. The community existed until about 1124 when it was re-formed for Augustinian Canons. In the 12th century re-founding, the old church (see SX 06 NE 27) was given to the townsmen, a new and separate priory church being built in the area of the present `Priory House `kitchen garden. The church and cloister were destroyed shortly after the dissolution and the conventual buildings tenemented.

Priory House is built on the site of the `Great House` which was demolished shortly after 1765 together with the `Great Hall` (or refrectory), separated from it on the south side of the cloister. The remaining ruined walls on the property were removed after 1788. Towards the pond were the Prior`s lodging with his hall and chapel. Foundations of the latter have been found under the lawn but the only existing remains above ground are those of the pigeon house at the back of the chapel. (2-5)

No actual buildings are identifiable but vast quantities of carved stone have been heaped against the boundary hedges of the Priory grounds. The pigeon house foundations have been removed or concealed beneath the lawn. The former kitchen garden - the site of the church - was centred at SX 07416695. Fish ponds at SX 0735 6686 probably originated with the priory but have been adapted to ornamental use in a public park.

A number of photographs showing the excavations of circa 1886 on the lawn are in Plymouth Reference Library. (6)

Excavations under the car park of the district Council offices at Priory House provided evidence for Dark Age activity predating construction of the priory buildings. Four Phases of activity were also identified within the priory. The original church was an aisled building, stone built graves located to the west probably are of the same date, 12th-13th century. During the 15th century a tower was added to the west end and substantial rebuilding, identified during the 1965 excavations, took place at the eastern end. The post Reformation period saw the conversion of the church into buildings for secular use. Post-Dissolution activity is represented by the re-construction of the Priory wall and a tile built furnace, probably a reveberatory used for the casting of metal. (7)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 25" 1907
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Source Number : 2
Source : Medieval religious houses in England and Wales
Source details :
Page(s) : 60,148,468
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Source Number : 2a
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Notita Monastica 1744 66 (Tanner)
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Source Number : 3
Source : Essays in Cornish history
Source details :
Page(s) : 219-28
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Source Number : 4
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Corn Ch Guide 1964 26-7 (C Henderson)
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Source Number : 5
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Ants of Corn 1796 380-1 (W Borlase)
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Source Number : 6
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 NVQ 15-JUN-62
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 7
Source : Cornish archaeology
Source details : P O'Hara
Page(s) : 212
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 24, 1985

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Early Medieval
Display Date : Founded in C6; refounded 936
Monument End Date : 936
Monument Start Date : 500
Monument Type : Benedictine Monastery
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Early Medieval
Display Date : Extant
Monument End Date : 1066
Monument Start Date : 936
Monument Type : Benedictine Monastery, Benedictine Nunnery
Evidence : Documentary Evidence, Conjectural Evidence
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Medieval
Monument End Date : 1540
Monument Start Date : 1066
Monument Type : Augustinian Monastery, Benedictine Monastery, Benedictine Nunnery, Cemetery, Church, Priory
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit, Documentary Evidence, Conjectural Evidence
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Post Medieval
Monument End Date : 1901
Monument Start Date : 1540
Monument Type : Reverberatory Furnace, Metal Working Site
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SX 06 NE 10
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 429360
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : ST PETROC'S PRIORY,BODMIN
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1886-01-01
End Date : 1886-12-31
Associated Activities : FIELD OBSERVATION ON SX 06 NE 10
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1962-06-15
End Date : 1962-06-15
Associated Activities : BODMIN PRIORY
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1965-01-01
End Date : 1965-12-31
Associated Activities : BODMIN PRIORY
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1985-01-01
End Date : 1985-12-31
Associated Activities : PROPOSED NEW LIBRARY SITE
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 1995-01-01
End Date : 1995-12-31
Associated Activities : BODMIN PRIORY
Activity type : GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY
Start Date : 1998-01-01
End Date : 1998-12-31
Associated Activities : BODMIN PRIORY CHURCH
Activity type : ARCHITECTURAL SURVEY
Start Date : 2005-01-01
End Date : 2005-12-31
Associated Activities : BODMIN PRIORY CHURCH
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2007-01-01
End Date : 2007-12-31