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Historic England Research Records

Totnes Priory

Hob Uid: 446464
Location :
Devon
South Hams
Totnes
Grid Ref : SX8025060500
Summary : A Benedictine monastery founded in 1088 as an alien cell of St Serge, Angers. It became independent in 1416 and was dissolved in 1536. After the Dissolution in 1536 the greater part of the priory church of St Mary was adapted for use as the parish church and the convental buildings on the north side were incorporated in the new Guildhall buildings (see SX86SW110). The courtroom appears to be on the site of the monastic refectory and retains some of the original window openings, the main refectory entrance to Guildhall yard (formerly the site of the cloister) and an internal doorway to the site of the monastic kitchen at the west end; later the prison. At the east end a building with a vaulted undercroft (possibly the Prior's lodging) formed the nucleus of the grammar school established in 1553. (see SX86SW111 for the grammar school on the site of the priory lodgings undercroft). The buried remains of the priory church and its claustral buildings which lie within the churchyard and beneath the lane and a small portion of the Anglo-Saxon burgh including part of its defensive ramparts are scheduled.
More information : (SX 8256050) Guildhall (NAT) and remains of Priory
(NR). (1)

The Benedictine Priory of Totnes, dependant upon St Serge of Angers, was founded circa 1088. There were about ten monks there up to the time of the Black Death; in 1377 there were six. The priory appears to have become denizen before 1416, for in 1416 and 1436 the priors were nominated from Canterbury. The priory was dissoved in 1536. (2)

The Guildhall was built about 1553, reconstructed in 1624 (according to a wall tablet) and extensively altered in 1829. It is on the site of the benedictine Priory of St Mary founded by Judhael in 1088. After the Dissolution in 1536 the greater part of the priory church of St Mary was adapted for use as the parish church and the convental buildings on the north side were incorporated in the new Guildhall buildings. The courtroom appears to be on the site of the monastic refectory and retains some of the original window openings, the main refectory entrance to Guildhall yard (formerly the site of the cloister) and an internal doorway to the site of the monastic kitchen at the west end; later the prison. At the east end a building with a vaulted undercroft (possibly the Prior's lodging) formed the nucleus of the Grammar School established in 1553.

The buildings are of Devonian limestone rubble walls dressed and patched with red sandstone. There are traces of blocked Medieval windows, and 19th century windows, in Perpendicular style are set in old openings. At the west end is an original wooden 15th century doorway. The loggia in front of the Guildhall was constructed about 1897 with granite columns from the Exchange of 1616 (see SX 86 SW 20). (3)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 25" 1968
Page(s) :
Figs. :
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Source Number : 2
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Md Relig Houses 1971 (Knowles and Hadcock)
Page(s) : 57, 78
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : DOE (HHR) Totnes Devon 1978
Page(s) : 43-4
Figs. :
Plates :
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Source Number : 4
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : Scheduled 05-Jul-2002
Page(s) :
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Built 1088-1416
Monument End Date : 1416
Monument Start Date : 1088
Monument Type : Benedictine Alien Cell, Alien Priory
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Altered 1416-1536
Monument End Date : 1536
Monument Start Date : 1416
Monument Type : Benedictine Monastery, Priory, Undercroft, Cloister, Monastic Dwelling, Refectory
Evidence : Extant Building

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 34877
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SX 86 SW 11
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 446585
Relationship type :
Associated Monuments : 1301925
Relationship type :

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, HIGH STREET/RAMPARTS WALK
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2013-01-01
End Date : 2013-12-31