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Historic England Research Records

Grace Dieu Priory

Hob Uid: 920491
Location :
Leicestershire
North West Leicestershire
Belton
Grid Ref : SK4354018350
Summary : Augustinian Nunnery founded circa 1239, dissolved in 1538. Converted into a mansion in 1539 but largely demolished in 1696. Associated fishpond, ponds, boundary ditch survive as earthworks. Parts of precinct wall survive.
More information : (SK 43541836) Grace Dieu Priory (NR) (Augustinian
Nuns Founded c AD 1239) (1)

This was a large priory with sixteen nuns in 1377; founded c 1239
and excused suppression in 1536-7 as a lesser monastery, finally
dissolved 1538. A hospital for twelve poor people was attached. (2)

The priory was founded by Rhosese de Verdon. (3)

In 1539 the priory became the residence of John Beaumont but, in
1696, most of the buildings were pulled down by Sir Ambrose
Phillipps. It stood ruined before 1730.

Today there exists a large four-centred arch leading to the E
into an oblong apartment (possibly the chancel), otherwise all
recognisable details are early and late Tudor. (4)

There are a number of pools associated with this site which
could be fish ponds. (5)

Remains comprise the much robbed ruins, fragments of the
precinct wall, ponds and associated earth works. See photo and
25" Survey. (6)

The Loughborough and District Archaeology Society excavated at the
priory. Crude unglazed tiles were found in the church areas and one
15th century tile (printed type) was found in the chapter house.
The south drain 3.5 ft high by 2 ft 2 ins wide was revealed. It
was surveyed for 130 ft before being stopped by an earth filling. (7)

Ruins of Grace Dieu Priory. Most of the surviving detail is 15th-
17th century. Grade 2. (8)

This site was mapped from APs as part of RCHME's National Forest Project. The following features were observed:-

Stonework building of Medieval date, seen as an incomplete
rectangular enclosure, defined by 1 stone foundation,
(6 sides visible) 30m by ??m. Internal and/or attached
features are present.
Centred at:-SK 4351 1835
(Morph No. FR.198.7.1)

Possible earthwork boundary of Medieval date, seen as
an incomplete polygonal enclosure, defined by 1 ditch, (3 sides
visible), ??m by 25m. Internal and/or attached features are present.
Centred at:-SK 4351 1830
(Morph No. FR.198.7.2)

Probable earthwork pond of Medieval date, seen as
a single linear feature defined by 1 ditch, max. length 60m.
Centred at:-SK 4348 1828
(Morph No. FR.198.7.3)

Probable stonework building of Post Medieval date, seen as
a rectangular enclosure, defined by 1 stone foundation,
18m by 5m.
Centred at:-SK 4353 1844
(Morph No. FR.198.8.5)

Garden features associated with this site are described in
SK 41 NE 79.
(9)

The boundary described by authority 9 still forms quite a substantial
earthwork. The stonework and ponds were very much overgrown. (10)

SK 4351 1836. Grace Dieu Priory with two ponds and a fishpond, Belton. The priory buildings occupy an area of 90m x 50 m, the ruined walls of which stand to an average height of 8m-10m.
To the south-west is a large, roughly square, embanked pond about 75m across and 2m-3m deep, part of which still retains water. West of the pond, on the opposite bank of the brook, are the truncated earthworks of a further pond defining a roughly triangular area. Some 50m to the north of the priory is a crescent-shaped fishpond measuring 55m x 20m and 1.5m deep containing three islands. Beyond this is a large boundary ditch 10m wide and over 2m deep containing an inner bank. Several sections of the boundary wall of the priory, about 1m wide, are situated on the east bank of the brook.
The site today occupies a piece of land truncated on the south side by the former Charnwood Forest Canal (LINEAR 18) and railway.
Scheduled (RSM) No 17074. (11)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1968
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : Medieval religious houses : England and Wales
Source details :
Page(s) : 274
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 11
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : English Heritage SAM Amendment Leicestershire 20-JUL-1992
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 12
Source : Medieval religious houses in England and Wales
Source details :
Page(s) : 281,361
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Monastic Sites 1952 262-3 (Knowles & St Joseph) illus
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 4
Source : The Buildings of England
Source details : Leicestershire 1960 110
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 5
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Loughborough Archaeol Soc Bull 10 1969 2-5, 30, 31, 33-35 (E J Miller)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 6
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : B H Seaman/31-AUG-1972/Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Field Investigator
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 7
Source : Medieval archaeology : journal of the Society for Medieval Archaeology
Source details :
Page(s) : 246
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 13, 1969
Source Number : 8
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : DOE Listed Buildings Dist of North West Leicestershire 16 Jan 1989 2
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 9
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Yvonne Boutwood/16-JUL-1993/RCHME: National Forest Project
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 10
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Yvonne Boutwood/25-AUG-1993/RCHME: National Forest Project
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date :
Monument End Date : 1538
Monument Start Date : 1239
Monument Type : Priory, Augustinian Nunnery, Hospital, Fishpond, Pond, Precinct Wall, Boundary Ditch, Earthwork
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date :
Monument End Date : 1696
Monument Start Date : 1539
Monument Type : Country House
Evidence : Ruined Building

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Leicestershire)
External Cross Reference Number : 41NW Y
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : LE 14
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 17074
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : MORPH2
External Cross Reference Number : FR.198.7
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : MORPH2
External Cross Reference Number : FR.198.8
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : NBR Index Number
External Cross Reference Number : 110930
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SK 41 NW 3
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 926549
Relationship type :

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, GRACE DIEU PRIORY
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1913-01-01
End Date : 1913-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, GRACE DIEU PRIORY
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1967-01-01
End Date : 1968-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SK 41 NW 3
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1972-08-31
End Date : 1972-08-31
Associated Activities : Primary, RCHME: NATIONAL FOREST PROJECT
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1992-08-19
End Date : 1995-03-31
Associated Activities : Primary, GRACE DIEU PRIORY
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1995-01-01
End Date : 1995-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, GRACE DIEU PRIORY POND
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 2014-01-01
End Date : 2014-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, GRACE DIEU PRIORY FISHPOND
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2014-01-01
End Date : 2014-12-31