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Historic England Research Records

Kirkham Priory

Hob Uid: 59657
Location :
North Yorkshire
Ryedale
Westow
Grid Ref : SE7360065800
Summary : The remains of the Medieval Augustinian Priory of the Holy Trinity. Kirkham Priory was founded by Walter Espec, Lord of Helmsley, in the 1120s. Soon after its foundation it survived a move to transfer it to the Cistercian order and flourished under the de Roos family. By the end of the 13th century the priory was heavily in debt but it continued to support a prior and 16 canons almost up to its supression in 1539. The standing remains include the 12th and 13th century ruins of the priory church whose east front is still partly upstanding and forms the north range of the cloister. The late 13th century chapter house and dorter (dormitory) form the east range while the frater is located to the south. The west range is made up of the guest house and kitchen. To the south of the east range lay a complex of late 13th and 14th century buildings comprising the kitchen, prior's lodging, infirmary and reredorter (in other words the communal privy or latrine). A separate gatehouse dating to the late 13th century stands to the north-west, and the stump of a 14th century cross stands outside (see record 59654 for the cross). To the north and east of the upstanding remains, traces of a right-angled bank make up the visible remains of the precinct boundary. To the north-west of the precinct is a line of three associated fishponds. An interesting footnote in the later history of the site is that the area around the priory was used to test "swimming" vehicles in preparation for D-Day and as such was visited by Winston Churchill. The site is in the care of English Heritage.
More information : SE 736658 Remains of (NAT) Kirkham Priory (NR)
(Augustinian, founded circa AD 1122) (NAT) Church (NR)
Gateway (NR) (1)

Kirkham Priory, an Augustinian house, founded about 1122 and
dissolved 1539. Detailed description. (2)

Almost the full ground plan of the Priory has been revealed by
excavation. The monument is open to the general public.

At SE 733659, a series of 3 water-filled fish ponds (published as
Old Fish Ponds (NAT) is probably contemporary with the Priory,
although it is possible that they could be ornamental features
connected with the nearby Kirkham Hall.

Published 25" survey of fish ponds correct. (3)

Augustinian priory of the Holy Trinity, founded in the 1120s by
Walter Espec. It flourished in the 13th century and during this
period started an ambitious building programme. However by the end
of the century the priory was heavily in debt and this project was
never finished. It continued to support a prior and sixteen canons
up to its suppression in 1539. Scheduled. (4)

Kirkham Priory. Augustinian priory. Mid 12th to 15th centuries.
Grade 1. (5)

Architectural description. (6)

Founded between 1122 and 1130 by Walter Espec. It was extensively
enlarged and rebuilt in the first half of the 13th century, it was
heavily in debt by 1380 and consisted of a prior and sixteen canons
at this time and the dissolution.
The first church was an aisleless cruciform some 12.5m wide and 55m
long. In rebuilding the overall width was retained and the walls
thickened, thereby reducing the internal span. In the first quarter
of the 13th century the choir and presbytery were rebuilt with
aisles.

One chapel lay on the north side of the choir and the angle formed by
the north transept. A second was on the north side of the choir.
The sacrist's hall was built against the western side of the north
transept and linked to the nave by a crooked passage cut through the
thickness of the nave wall. It was enlarged to two rooms and
provided with a garderobe in the 15th century or later.

Two towers were built when the nave was lengthened abot 1180 at the
west end. They were separated by a vestibule, but there was no
western door. The southern tower was raised over a vaulted entry
which probably served as an outer parlour to the cloisters.

Only a portion of the original chapterhouse survives. In the early
13th century it was replaced by a new chapterhouse as part of the
major rebuilding. It was four bays long and presumably vaulted. It
effectively separated the dormitory from the south transept.

The original dormitory had to be rebuilt on a new plan in the later
13th century as a result of the construction of the chapter house.
It was not directly connected to the south transept, the southern end
of the range had a vaulted basement.

The reredorter lay at right angles to the dormitory which it appears
to precede slightly in date. Two storeys high, it is only the upper
courses which are bonded to the dormitory. The lower vaulted room
probably served the novices.

The refectory occupied the south side of the cloister and was erected
in the later 13th century, its basement was vaulted.

Too little of the western rangle survives to say even if it was
completed.

The kitchen lies to the south of the frater to which it was not
connected, it includes several fireplaces and a large oven.

The guesthouse was originally a substantial two storey building which
lies immediately south of the kitchen.

The cloister does not appear to have been provided with any covered
ambulatory. It is assumed that it would have been square in plan as
originally conceived, but its dimensions were reduced when the west
range was rebuilt in the later 13th century.

The prior's lodgings was a substantial building provided with a hall,
solar, garderobe and it probably shared a large dining hall and
misericorde with the infirmary.

The infirmary was an aisled building, five bays long, entered by a
large porch in the east side.

The gatehouse is composed of a wide gatehall with building ranges to
the east and west. The front facade is extensively decorated with
heraldry and figured sculpture.

The fishponds are named and depicted on O.S. 1:10000 1981, they are
fed by a drain running NE from the N pond. (7)

The fishponds described by authorities 3 and 7 were covered by trees
on available air photographs. The possible remains of a precinct wall
were mapped from good quality air photographs and are described in
SE 76 NW 127. (8)

SE 73626571, SE 73306592. Kirkham Priory: Augustinian monastery:
monastic precinct, three fishponds, and precinct boundary. Scheduled
RSM No. 13269. (9,10)

Guide to the site and noted in gazetteer. (11,12)

Conservation Statement. (13)

Journal article with drawings, elevations, sections site plans and maps. (14)

The on-site interpreation of the priory includes details of the role of the site in the Second World War. (15)

During World War II this site was used by the military to test waterproof vehicles in preparation for D-Day. The site appears to have been quite important and secret at the time, both the royal family and Churchill visited it because of its wartime role. (16)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" map
Page(s) :
Figs. :
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Source Number : 2
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Department of the Environment. 1975. Kirkham Priory Guide
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 10
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : 24-Apr-96
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 11
Source : Kirkham Priory, Yorkshire [guide]
Source details :
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 12
Source : Medieval religious houses in England and Wales
Source details :
Page(s) : 162
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 13
Source : English Heritage Yorkshire Region Conservation Statements
Source details : Kirkham Priory, Sep-2002
Page(s) :
Figs. :
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Source Number : 14
Source : Journal of the British Archaeological Association
Source details : "Kirkham Priory: the Architecture and Archaeology of an Augustinian House" article by Glyn Coppack, Stuart Harrison, Colin Hayfield
Page(s) : 55-136
Figs. :
Plates : Oct-13
Vol(s) : 148, 1995
Source Number : 15
Source : English Heritage members' & visitors' handbook 2010/11
Source details :
Page(s) : 208
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 16
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : English Heritage. 2009. "World War Properties" <> [Accessed 12-MAR-2010]
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
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Source Number : 3
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : Field Investigator, ISS, 16-NOV-1977
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 4
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : English Heritage, SAM Report, 7-APR-1992
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 5
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : Ryedale, 11-FEB-1987
Page(s) : 26
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 6
Source : Yorkshire : York and the East Riding
Source details :
Page(s) : 298-301
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 7
Source : Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments
Source details : Ken Davies/22-JUN-1995/RCHME/NYCC:Howardian Hills Project
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 7a
Source : Aerial photograph
Source details : APs: NMRSE7365/1/136 - 11-AUG-1977; CUCCCE54 - 06-MAY-1977; DNR1633/30A - 07-MAR-1983; ANY082/01 - 04-MAR-1980; CUCBWB54 - 09-SEP-1975
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 8
Source : RCHME/EH/HE Aerial Photographers comment
Source details : Antonia Kershaw/23-DEC-1993/RCHME: Howardian Hills Project
Page(s) :
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Plates :
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Source Number : 9
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : 23-Mar-92
Page(s) :
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Plates :
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Founded 1120s
Monument End Date : 1129
Monument Start Date : 1120
Monument Type : Augustinian Monastery, Priory
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : 1120 to 1539
Monument End Date : 1539
Monument Start Date : 1120
Monument Type : Refectory, Guest House, Kitchen, Fishpond, Monastic Precinct
Evidence : Ruined Building, Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : C12 from1120
Monument End Date : 1200
Monument Start Date : 1120
Monument Type : Priory, Church
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : C13 Additions
Monument End Date : 1300
Monument Start Date : 1201
Monument Type : Priory, Church
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Late C13
Monument End Date : 1300
Monument Start Date : 1267
Monument Type : Chapter House, Gatehouse, Dormitory
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Late C13 and C14
Monument End Date : 1400
Monument Start Date : 1267
Monument Type : Kitchen, Infirmary, Privy House, Monastic Dwelling
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Supressed in 1539
Monument End Date : 1539
Monument Start Date : 1539
Monument Type : Augustinian Monastery, Priory
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Second World War
Display Date : Second World War
Monument End Date : 1945
Monument Start Date : 1939
Monument Type : Vehicle Testing Station
Evidence : Documentary Evidence

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (North Yorkshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 1734
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : NY 8
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 13269
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (North Yorkshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 1734.01
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (North Yorkshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 1734.02
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (North Yorkshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 1734.03
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (North Yorkshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 1734.04
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (North Yorkshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 1734.05
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (North Yorkshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 1734.06
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (North Yorkshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 1734.07
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (North Yorkshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 1734.08
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (North Yorkshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 1734.09
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (North Yorkshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 1734.1
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (North Yorkshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 1734.11
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (North Yorkshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 1734.12
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (North Yorkshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 1734.13
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (North Yorkshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 1734.14
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (North Yorkshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 1734.15
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (North Yorkshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 1734.16
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (North Yorkshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 1734.17
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (North Yorkshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 1734.18
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (North Yorkshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 1734.19
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (North Yorkshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 1734.2
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (North Yorkshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 1734.21
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (North Yorkshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 1734.22
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (North Yorkshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 1734.23
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (North Yorkshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 1734.24
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (North Yorkshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 1734.25
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : NY 13269
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 328745
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 328746
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : EH Property Number
External Cross Reference Number : 373
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : ViewFinder
External Cross Reference Number : J990156
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : ViewFinder
External Cross Reference Number : J990154
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : ViewFinder
External Cross Reference Number : K990836
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Unified Designation System UID
External Cross Reference Number : 1149116
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Unified Designation System UID
External Cross Reference Number : 1014024
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SE 76 NW 5
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 7246
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 112
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 59654
Relationship type :
Associated Monuments : 1003343
Relationship type :

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, KIRKHAM PRIORY
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1886-01-01
End Date : 1886-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, KIRKHAM PRIORY
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1927-01-01
End Date : 1927-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, KIRKHAM PRIORY
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1932-01-01
End Date : 1932-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SE 76 NW 5
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1977-11-16
End Date : 1977-11-16
Associated Activities : Primary, KIRKHAM PRIORY
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1978-01-01
End Date : 1982-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, KIRKHAM PRIORY
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1981-01-01
End Date : 1981-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, KIRKHAM PRIORY
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1990-01-01
End Date : 1990-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, RCHME/NYCC: HOWARDIAN HILLS PROJECT
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1993-04-01
End Date : 1994-01-01