HeritageGateway - Home
Site Map
Text size: A A A
You are here: Home > > > > Devon & Dartmoor HER Result
Devon & Dartmoor HERPrintable version | About Devon & Dartmoor HER | Visit Devon & Dartmoor HER online...

See important guidance on the use of this record.

If you have any comments or new information about this record, please email us.


HER Number:MDV419
Name:Frithelstock Priory, Frithelstock, Torridge

Summary

Frithelstock Priory, the upstanding and buried remains of a priory of Augustinian canons in occupation from the early 13th century until 1536.

Location

Grid Reference:SS 463 195
Map Sheet:SS41NE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishFrithelstock
DistrictTorridge
Ecclesiastical ParishFRITHELSTOCK

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: 32835
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS41NE/1
  • Old SAM County Ref: 139
  • Old SAM Ref: 24842
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: SS41NE9

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • PRIORY (XII to XVI - 1200 AD to 1536 AD (Between))

Full description

Unknown, SS4619 (Aerial Photograph). SDV18703.


Harding, W., 1845, Untitled Source, 81 (Monograph). SDV18684.

Roof at Blundells School said to be copied from one in Frithelstock Priory, which would be dated in the early 17th century.


Oliver, G., 1846, Monasticon Diocesis Exoniensis, 219 (Monograph). SDV57424.


Dredge, J. L., 1892, Frithelstock Priory, 1-10 (Article in Serial). SDV18683.

Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings survey in 1887.


Amery, P. F. S., 1900-1901, A Tour across Dartmoor into North Devon by the Rev. John Swete 1789, 126 (Article in Serial). SDV18670.

In 1789 Swete described the ruins of the priory as consisting chiefly of the side and end walls of what is now one room


Ministry of Works, 1928, Frithelstock Priory Ruins (Schedule Document). SDV344968.

Frithelstock Priory ruins consist of the west and north walls of the Priory Church. The west wall has three high narrow lancet windows probably dating from the foundation of the Priory. The north wall has similar windows. The south wallwas at some time pierced as though for an arcade. This was subsequently filled up. One and a half arches remain. The south-westcorner of the Priory Church abuts on the north-east angle of the Parish Church. Ther are odd fragments of walling at the east end of the Priory Church and the field to the south and east is covered with mounds and ridges, the reamins of further buildings. The ruins already needed attention in 1888 when they were reported on by The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings. It does not look as if anything had been done since. The ruins are overgrown with ivy and parts are in a rather shaky condition. The Priory was an Augustinian House founded in 1220 by Robert Beauchamp and colonised from Hartland Abbey.


Chope, R. P., 1928 - 1929, Frithelstock Priory Ruins, 303-304 (Article in Serial). SDV18679.

The dangerous and overgrown state of the standing masonry in 1929 is described as well as plans for excavations envisaged. Contempory photo published.


Chope, R. P., 1929, Frithelstock Priory, 185-188 (Article in Serial). SDV18668.

Remains of the Augustinian priory of St. Mary and St. Gregory founded circa 1220 by Robert Beauchamp, and colonised from Hartland Abbey. Details of its documentary history are given. Other details: Plates 6-9.


Radford, C. + Radford, C. A. R. + Oliver, B. W., 1930, 9th Report on Ancient Monuments: Preservation Work at Frithelstock Priory, 117-118 (Article in Serial). SDV18676.

A short account is given of preservation work completed up to time of writing.


R. B. M., 1930 - 1931, Frithelstock Priory, 85-86 (Article in Serial). SDV18678.

State papers of the reign of Henry VIII show that the king granted the priory to George Carew. History of ownership at this period.


Radford, C. + Radford, C. A. R., 1933, 12th Report on Ancient Monuments, 78 (Article in Serial). SDV18707.


Radford, C. A. R., 1933, Frithelstock Priory and Parish Church, 20-27 (Article in Serial). SDV18700.

The best preserved portions consist of the west and north walls of the priory church. The west wall has three high narrow lancet windows (probably 13th century); similar windows in the north wall. Some evidence for a south arcade. The south-west corner of the priory church abuts on the north-east angle of the parish church. The field to the south and east is covered with mounds and ridges. Ruins described in 1888 as needing attention, and in the early 20th century as being in a "shaky condition". Restoration work was undertaken by the Devon Archaeological Society after the owner placed the building in their custody circa 1930-32. At that time the visible remains of the priory were the ruins of the early 13th century church (nave, choir and sanctuary) with 14th century Lady Chapel to east and the footings of a 14th century tower at its south-west corner. The west wall of the nave stood to gable height. Nothing remained of the other priory buildings, but they probably lay north of the church, with the cloisters east of cloister hall. Trial excavation by Radford in 1929 revealed the presence of buildings at the east and west ends of the church, and established the position of the south door of the church. The tower had originally been planned at the end of the south aisle but was eventually built at the south-west angle. No trace of cloisters to the south of the church were found. The monastic plan was destroyed by the 16th century and by later buildings. Other details: Figure 1 and Plates V - VI.


Chipe, R. P., 1933, History of Frithelstock Priory, 5-19 (Article in Serial). SDV18699.

Other details: Plates I - IV.


Anonymous, 1933, Proceedings at the Annual Meeting, 31 (Article in Serial). SDV18706.


Radford, C. + Radford, R., 1935, Fourteenth Report on Ancient Monuments, 75 (Article in Serial). SDV135854.


Ward Perkins, J. B., 1937, Untitled Source, 130 (Article in Serial). SDV18675.

Discussion of embossed tiles given.


Radford, C. A. R., 1940, The Cluniac Priory of St. James at Dudley, 451 (Article in Serial). SDV18681.

An example of an incomplete monastic church. Nave alone complete and served the whole needs of the community until the dissolution.


Benson, J., 1947 - 1949, The Founder of Frithelstock priory, 73-78 (Article in Serial). SDV18680.

The author examines the true identity of the founder of the priory.


Cambridge University, 1952, CUC/HU, 88-90 (Aerial Photograph). SDV18710.


Unknown, 1953, ME 71-73 (Aerial Photograph). SDV18723.


Chope, E. M. + Dunning, G. C., 1954, The Use of Blue Slate for Roofing in Medieval England, 216 (Article in Serial). SDV18667.

Frithelstock Priory. Excavated example of blue slate in a Medieval context from the priory site.


Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1954 - 1978, SS41NE9 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV18672.

Remains of St Mary and St Gregory's Augustinian Priory.
The Augustinian priory of St Mary the Virgin and St Gregory was founded about 1220 and colonised from Hartland Abbey for a prior and Arroasian cannons. It was finally dissolved in 1536.
The only visible remains of the priory are those of the early 13th century church consisting of nave, choir and sanctuary with a 14th century Lady Chapel to the east and the footings of a 14th cenhtury tower at the south-west corner. The west wall of the nave stands to gable height. Nothing remains of the other buildings but it is probable that they lay to the north with the cloisters to the east of the Cloister Hall which is probably on the site of the prior's house.
In the eastern range of modern barns is a substantial north to south wall which possibly marks the extent of the monastic buildings on this side. A long mound running south from the south-east angle of the Lady Chapel may mark the eastern wall of the canon's cemetery. The site of the priory gate which survived in 1796 stood at the south end of this wall just outside the existing cemetery extension.
Hummocks in the field to the north suggest that there were buildings here.
The visible remains of the Priory consist of parts of the walls of the nave, choir and Lady Chapel. The west front remains almost to gable height of about 8 metres with three good lancet windows. The north wall of the nave is up to 5 metres high and the south wall up to 1.3 metres high. The foundations of the tower are 0.5 metres high and those of the Lady Chapel from 0.3 metres to 1 metre high.
Ther are a number of amorphous mounds immediately north-east and south of the ruins; some evidently from stone robbing, others may conceal further remains.
'Cloister Hall' is of two storeys, stone built and roughcast. Apart from hood moulds over the modern windows the only external evidence of 16th century work is a fine Tudor doorway of Granite. Other details: Plan, Photograph.


Walker, H. H., 1961, Notes for a Study of Bishop Walter de Stapledon and the Church in the West Country in the Early 14th Century, 325 (Article in Serial). SDV18677.

The priory was given to the manor of Broadwoodwidger by the Stapledon family in the 14th century.


Knowles, D. + Hadcock, R. N., 1971, Medieval Religious Houses: England and Wales, 140, 157 (Monograph). SDV323253.

In 1377 it had a prior and eight canons, and by its dissolution in 1536, a prior and four or five canons.


Unknown, 1975, BUN 70-72 (Aerial Photograph). SDV18724.


Griffith, F. M., 1985, DAP/EI, 6-7 (Aerial Photograph). SDV18720.


Weddell, P. J., 1986, Frithelstock (Report - Assessment). SDV18682.

Church remains still in fairly good condition, some loose stonework at west end. Report contains copies of 18th and 19th century engravings of priory church. According to documentary sources in Devon Record Office there were other walls of the priory surviving in the 18th century. See sub-sheets for details of claustral buildings. More details in archive report.


Unknown, 1986 - 1987, Devon Religious Houses Survey (Un-published). SDV347681.


Griffith, F., 1988, Devon's Past. An Aerial View, 80 (Monograph). SDV64198.


Griffith, F. M., 1989, DAP/NL, 104 (Aerial Photograph). SDV18730.


Cherry, B. + Pevsner, N., 1989, The Buildings of England: Devon, 452 (Monograph). SDV325629.


Juniper, M., 1989, Untitled Source (Correspondence). SDV18685.

In the drought of the summer of 1989 circular patches of greener growth observed in field circa 200 metres to the south-west of the priory. (Are these quarry pits?).


Gibbons, P., 1993, 134672 (Un-published). SDV18687.

Monument includes the known extent of the upstanding and buried remains of a priory of Augustinian canons in occupation from the early 13th century until 1536. Visible remains exist in the form of a number of ruined and adapted stone structures terraced into the natural slope and laid out in the traditional monastic plan in which a church and three ranges of buildings of two stories were grouped around the central square open court of the cloister. They include the substantial remains of the priory church, which abuts the parish church, and the remains of the cloister ranges incorporated into the buildings of Cloister Hall farm. Fields adjacent to the farm contain a series of low earthworks.
Walls are of random-rubble utilising local slate, with carved details in a coarse red sandstone and oolitic limestone. Principal upstanding remains are those of the 13th century priory church, aligned east to west, and of 39.6 metres by 14.1 metres overall size. It consists of a simple in-line arrangement, 8.95 metres in width, of nave, choir, presbytery and Lady Chapel, with a single square tower abutting the west end of the nave. The west gable-end of the nave survives to 13.2 metres, almost its full original height, and is of symmetrical, austere and dramatic design, having three tall lancet windows above a small central doorway. Most of the north wall of the church survives to a considerable height, as do the buttressed north-east and south-east corners of the presbytery, and the south wall of the nave. Despite the apparent simplicity of the design, details of the fabric of the church indicate a complex structural history. The west end of the wall of the nave has a high pointed arch supported on its east side by a 1 metre square pier with chamfered ashlar edges on three corners. The presence of this pier indicates that the church was originally designed with a south aisle, but that this was abandoned, the arch blocked and the south wall of the church constructed in-line with the proposed arcade. The north and south walls of the church are not however, symmetrical in terms of the number, size and location of the windows. The north wall has a tall lancet window to the nave and four high windows to the choir and presbytery; the south wall has a tall lancet to the nave and presbytery with, from the evidence of an 18th century engraving, four high windows placed between them. The Lady Chapel and tower were added in the 14th century, although it is not clear from the ruins how these additions were fully integrated into and altered the existing fabric of the church. The tower appears to have blocked the tall lancet window to the south wall of the nave, the Lady Chapel does not appear to have involved an equivalent blocking of the long lancet windows in the east gable-end of the presbytery.
By the mid 15th century, rebuilding in the parish church resulted in its north-east corner being structurally bonded to the south-west corner of the tower of the priory church. The south wall of the priory church is terraced into the hillside by some 1.5 metres and the difference in level between the two churches is some 2.6 metres.
The cloister is on the north side of priory church, at about a 1 metre lower level, and with sides of about 20 metres square. This area is now mostly gravelled and contains flower beds forming the garden of the farm. The west range of the cloister abutted only the north-west corner of the church. The range is for the most part incorporated into the west half of the present farmhouse, the rooms at the north end are of 16/17th century date and form its earliest part. Traditionally the west range would have included the apartments of the prior. Abutting the north end of the east half of the farmhouse is a large storage building of some 9.1 metres width that occupies the position of the north range of the cloister. The south wall of this building appears to include Medieval fabric. Traditionally this range would have contained the refectory (dining hall), with the area between the north and west ranges occupied by the kitchens. The east range of the cloister is less well defined in terms of the current structures. The north face of the north wall of the presbytery has part of the footing for an external, west wall, and two corbels beneath the high windows, which together suggest that the east range abutted the presbytery, and was some 9 metres wide. The east range extended north into the area now occupied by the stables. Traditionally this range would have contained the sacristy (vestry) and chapter house, with the canon's dorter (dormitory) at 1st floor level. The late 15th century granite doorway forming the main entrance to the farmhouse would appear to be a reused part of the priory structure.
In 1976 a well was uncovered in the north-west corner of the cloister. It consisted of a vaulted passage, large enough to walk in, some 2.5 metres below the present ground level and some 5 metres in length, leading south from the north range of the cloister. At the south end of the passage there was a well over 6 metres in depth. The feature remains intact but is no longer visible. The purpose of the subterranean passage is not at all clear. The land forming the monastic precinct was traditionally enclosed behind a wall. At Frithelstock part of the line of the precinct can be defined. In the late 18th century it was reported that the priory gatehouse remained standing in-line with the south wall of the graveyard. The graveyard was extended in the early 20th century, but its earlier limits are shown by lines of lime trees. It has been argued, on the evidence of a small area of more pronounced earthworks, that the gatehouse stood to the east of the old south wall of the graveyard. The layout of the cloister however, with the entrance of the priory church to the west, and the prior's apartments in the west range, indicates that a gatehouse is more likely to have stood to the west of the south side of the graveyard. In either case the south wall of the precinct was to the north of the present road. In the pasture to the north of the farm there is a low bank which follows the top of the natural, steeper, ground slope to curve around the north-west of the farm buildings before becoming lost in uneven ground. This probably represents the line of the north wall of the precinct, which contained, in addition to the nucleus of the church and cloister, all the buildings and structures, agricultural and industrial pertaining to the abbey. Many of these structures would have been of timber or cob construction. A number of low linear earthworks are visible to the soth-east of the priory church forming three terraces in the natural ground slope. The middle terrace contains a rectangular depression some 35 metres by 12 metres which may indicate the site of a building or small fishpond. To the immediate west of this feature is a curvilinear depression which may be a hollow way. The canon's graveyard would traditionally have been located to the south of the priory church in the area that has since been partially encroached upon by the graveyard of the parish church. A linear earthwork extends south from the south-east corner of the Lady Chapel which may define the east side of the monastic graveyard. There are areas of more pronounced earthworks in this field outside the south-east corner of the graveyard and along the east side of the east range of the cloister. No earthworks are visible in the cultivated land to the east and north of this area.
Founded in the early 13th century by Robert Beauchamp. Colonised by canons from Hartland Abbey, and dedicated to St Gregory. Entries in episcopal registers of the Bishops of Exeter give an indication of the range of the monastic buildings: in 1333 there is a reference to the sacristy (vestry), in 1340 to the refectory (dining hall), dormitory and kitchen; in 1347 to the mill; in 1351 to the Lady Chapel; in 1378 Prior John Heyncie resigned and was allotted a room in the dormitory, which suggests that the priory did not at that time have an infirmary. In 1400 there are references to the Prior's Hall (Great Hall), Prior's Room, and a room called `hevytre'; in 1434 to the chapter-house, and a high chamber in the north part of the court. The parish church was in existence before the priory, and in 1333 was appropriated by the canons. In 1536 there were only four canons and the prior in residence.
Dissolved in 1536. In 1537 it was acquired by Viscount Lisle, by which time the cloister ranges had largely been destroyed, apart from a house used by the tenant farmer which has been identified with part of the present farmhouse. In the 18th century there were several references to old walls remaining in the vicinity of the farmhouse. Excavations were undertaken within the priory church in 1929. The recorded finds were architectural fragments, including seven small grotesque heads, 15/16th century stained glass, ceramic ridge tiles of a rare type that are both moulded and glazed, and decorated floor tiles. Sections of the landscaped excavation cuts remain on the south side of the church. At the time of the excavations parts of the fabric were consolidated, and it seems very probable that this, and/or subsequent consolidation, has obscured structural detail essential to the interpretation of the monument. Although detailed plans of the parish and priory churches were made at that time, there are no detailed plans of the cloister ranges and earthworks. Cloister Hall farmhouse and the building on the north side of the cloister are together listed as a Grade II historic building. The parish church is listed as Grade I, with the wall to the west of the tower as Grade II.


Chant, A. + Stoyle, M., 1993, Calendar of 'Stone's Cuttings', 1 (Report - non-specific). SDV131257.


Department of National Heritage, 1994, Frithelstock Priory (Schedule Document). SDV344970.

The priory is situated on the north side of the village of Frithelstock, some 2 kilometres to the west of the town of Great Torrington. It is set in agricultural land on the upper north facing slope of a wide valley that drains eastward into the River Torridge. The monument includes the known extent of the upstanding and buried remains of a priory of Augustinian canons in occupation from the early 13th century until 1536.
The visible remains exist in the form of a number of ruined and adapted stone structures terraced into the natural slope and laid out in the traditional monastic plan in which a church and three ranges of buildings of two stories were grouped around the central square open court of the cloister. They include the substantial remains of the priory church, which abuts the parish church, and the remains of the cloister ranges incorporated into the buildings of Cloister Hall Farm. Fields adjacent to the farm contain a series of low earthworks.
The walls are constructed of random-rubble utilising local slate, with carved details in a coarse red sandstone and oolitic limestone.
The principal upstanding remains are those of the 13th century priory church, aligned east-west, and of 39.6 metres by 14.1 metres overall size. It consists of a simple in-line arrangement, 8.95 metres in width, of nave, choir, presbytery and Lady chapel, with a single square tower abutting the western end of the nave. The west gable-end of the nave survives to 13.2 metres, almost its full original height, and is of symmetrical, austere and dramatic design, having three tall lancet windows above a small central doorway. Most of the north wall of the church survives to a considerable height, as do the buttressed north-east and south-east corners of the presbytery, and the south wall of the nave. Despite the apparent simplicity of the design, details of the fabric of the church indicate a complex structural history. The western end of the south wall of the nave has a high pointed arch supported on its eastern side by a 1 metre square pier with chamfered ashlar edges on three corners. The presence of this pier indicates that the church was originally designed with a south aisle, but that this was abandoned, the arch blocked and the south wall of the church constructed in line with the proposed arcade. The north and south walls of the church are not, however, symmetrical in terms of the number, size and location of the windows. The north wall has a tall lancet window to the nave and four high windows to the choir and presbytery; the south wall has a tall lancet to the nave and presbytery with, from the evidence of an 18th century engraving, four high windows placed between them. The Lady Chapel and tower were added in the 14th century. By the middle of the 15th century, rebuilding in the parish church resulted in its north east corner being structurally bonded to the south west corner of the tower of the priory church. The south wall of the priory church is terraced into the hillside by some 1.5 metres and the difference in level between the two churches is some 2.6 metres. The cloister is on the north side of the priory church, lying about 1metre lower, and with sides of about 20 metres square. This area is now mostly gravelled and contains flower beds forming the garden of the farm. The west range of the cloister abutted only the north-west corner of the church. The range is for the most part incorporated into the western half of the present farmhouse, the rooms at the north end are of 16th-17th century date and form its earliest part. Traditionally the west range would have included the apartments of the prior. Abutting the north end of the eastern half of the farmhouse is a large storage building of some 9.1 metres width that occupies the position of the north range of the cloister. The south wall of this building includes Medieval fabric. Traditionally this range would have contained the refectory (dining hall), with the area between the north and west ranges occupied by the kitchens. The east range of the cloister is less well defined in terms of the current structures. The north face of the north wall of the presbytery has part of the toothing for an external, east wall, and two corbels beneath the high windows, which together indicate that the east range abutted the presbytery, and was some 9 metres in width. The east range extended northwards into the area now occupied by the stables. Traditionally this range would have contained the sacristy (vestry) and chapter house, with the canons' dorter (dormitory) at first floor level. The late 15th century granite doorway forming the main entrance to the farmhouse would appear to be a reused part of the priory structure.
In 1976 a well was uncovered in the north-west corner of the cloister. It consisted of a vaulted passage, large enough to walk in, some 2.5 metres below the present ground level and some 5 metres in length, leading south from the north range of the cloister. At the south end of the passage there was a well over 6 metres in depth. The feature remains intact but is no longer visible.
The land forming the monastic precinct was traditionally enclosed behind a wall. At Frithelstock part of the line of the precinct can be defined. In the late 18th century it was reported that the priory gatehouse remained standing in line with the south wall of the graveyard. The graveyard was extended in the early 20th century, but its earlier limits are shown by lines of lime trees. It would therefore appear that the south wall of the precinct was to the north of the present road. In the pasture to the north of the farm there is a low bank which follows the top of the natural, steeper, ground slope to curve around the north west of the farm buildings before becoming lost in uneven ground. This earthwork probably represents the line of the north wall of the precinct. The precinct contained, in addition to the nucleus of the church and cloister, all the buildings and structures, both agricultural and industrial, associated with the degree of self-sufficiency that the priory was capable of sustaining. Many of these structures would have been of timber or cob construction. A number of low linear earthworks are visible to the south-east of the priory church forming three terraces in the natural ground slope. The middle terrace contains a rectangular depression some 35 metres by 12 metres which may indicate the site of a building or small fishpond. To the immediate west of this feature is a curvilinear depression which may be a hollow way. The canons' graveyard would traditionally have been located to the south of the priory church in the area that has since been partially encroached upon by the graveyard of the parish church. A linear earthwork extends southwards from the south-east corner of the Lady Chapel which may define the east side of the monastic graveyard. There are areas of more pronounced earthworks in this field outside the south-east corner of the graveyard and along the east side of the east range of the cloister.
The priory was founded in the early 13th century by Robert Beauchamp following his grant of the manor of Frithelstock to the Augustinian order. It was colonised by canons from Hartland Abbey in Devon and dedicated to St Gregory. Events in the history of the priory and details of a number of the priors have been reconstructed from secondary sources, mainly the episcopal registers of the Bishops of Exeter. Some entries give an indication of the range of monastic buildings; in 1333 there is a reference to the sacristry (vestry); in 1340 to the refectory (dining hall), dormitory and kitchen; in 1347 to the mill; in 1351 to the Lady Chapel; in 1378 to the dormitory; in 1400 there are references to the prior's hall (great hall), prior's room, and a room called `Hevytre'; in 1434 to the chapter house, and a high chamber in the north part of the court. The parish church was in existence before the priory and in 1333 was appropriated by the canons. In 1536 there were only four canons and the prior in residence. The priory was dissolved in 1536, in the reign of Henry VIII, following an Act of Parliament which originally intended to reform the religious houses by disbanding the smallest and poorest of their number. A condition of the subsequent sale of the buildings was that they were to be rendered unfit for monastic use and this was greatly assisted by the Crown's sequestration of all the roofing lead. Following their disposal by the Crown, parts of the buildings were often converted to habitable use, usually the apartments occupied by the prior which were of a more domestic nature, and this pattern was followed at Frithelstock. In 1537 the priory was acquired by Viscount Lisle, by which time the cloister ranges had largely been destroyed, apart from a house used by the tenant farmer which has been identified with part of the present farmhouse. In the 18th century there were several references to old walls remaining in the vicinity of the farmhouse.
Excavations were undertaken within the priory church in 1929. The recorded finds were architectural fragments, including seven small grotesque heads, 15th-16th century stained glass, ceramic ridge tiles of a rare type that are both moulded and glazed, and decorated floor tiles. Sections of the landscaped excavation cuts remain on the south side of the church. At the time of the excavations parts of the fabric were consolidated and detailed plans of the parish and priory churches were made. Cloister Hall farmhouse and the buildings on the northern side of the cloister are together Listed Grade II. The parish church is Listed Grade I, as are the ruins of the priory church. The wall to the west of the tower is Listed Grade II along with the vicarage, also Listed Grade II. The scheduling comprises what is currently recognised as the extent of the priory. Within the designated area the following are excluded from the scheduling: the parish church and the graveyard extension; all dwellings and modern farm buildings; the made-up farm track and hard-standing; all fence and gate posts, although the ground beneath all these features, with the exception of the graveyard extension, is included.
The rural location of Frithelstock has meant that the layout of the priory has been preserved and that its essential design can be determined from the existing structures and earthworks. The close proximity of the priory and parish churches is an unusual feature. The buried remains appear to be extensive and relatively unharmed by subsequent activity. Frithelstock is the only monastic site in North Devon to retain parts of its standing structure.


Allan, J., 1995, Object Enquiry Form (Un-published). SDV357631.

Opinion on 12 Roman coins found at Frithelstock Priory.


Gist, T., 1996, Untitled Source (Correspondence). SDV357630.

Artist's impression of the site in the early 15th century.


Coulter, J., 2006, An Ecclesiastical Spat at Frithelstock, 21-22 (Article in Serial). SDV351625.

In 1351 Bishop John Grandisson of Exeter demanded that the chapel in Waddycleve Wood be destroyed together with all its contents. This was apparently eventually done. However, the entry for Frithelstock in Jeremiah Mills' parish questionnaire in the late 18th century records a dwelling house at 'Waddecleve' which 'goes by ye name of ye Chappell'. A house called Mount Pleasant still stands here. It appears, therefore, that despite the threat of excommunication the cannons of Frithelstock deceived the Bishop. On a medieval bench end in Frithelstock Church are the carved heads of the bishop and the prior sticking their tongues out at one another.


National Monuments Record, 2010, 32835 (National Monuments Record Database). SDV344967.

Ruins of the Priory Church, adjoining parish church. The priory was founded by Robert Beauchamp about 1220. Extensive ruins of the priory church still exist. It is largely early 13th century consisting of nave, choir and sanctuary, with a 14th century Lady Chapel to the east and the footings of a 14th century tower at the south west corner.The west front stands to eaves level with three very tall lancet window openings. The north wall shows the clerestory had lancets. The claustral buildings probably lay to the north of the church. These are the only remains of a religious house in North Devon


Historic England, 2018, Frithelstock Priory, Licence to carry out a Geophysical Survey (Schedule Document). SDV361783.

License given from Historic England to South West Archaeology to undertake a geophysical survey at Frithelstock Priory.


Copeland, G. W., c1965, Photos (Record Office Collection). SDV358497.


Unknown, Unknown, Frithelstock Priory, Film 696 (Ground Photograph). SDV357580.


Unknown, Unknown, Frithelstock, Film 684 (Ground Photograph). SDV357581.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV131257Report - non-specific: Chant, A. + Stoyle, M.. 1993. Calendar of 'Stone's Cuttings'. Exeter Museums Archaeological Field Unit Report. 93.54. A4 Stapled. 1.
SDV135854Article in Serial: Radford, C. + Radford, R.. 1935. Fourteenth Report on Ancient Monuments. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 67. A5 Hardback. 75.
SDV18667Article in Serial: Chope, E. M. + Dunning, G. C.. 1954. The Use of Blue Slate for Roofing in Medieval England. Antiquaries Journal. 34. Unknown. 216.
SDV18668Article in Serial: Chope, R. P.. 1929. Frithelstock Priory. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 61. A5 Hardback. 185-188.
SDV18670Article in Serial: Amery, P. F. S.. 1900-1901. A Tour across Dartmoor into North Devon by the Rev. John Swete 1789. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 1. Unknown. 126.
SDV18672Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1954 - 1978. SS41NE9. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV18675Article in Serial: Ward Perkins, J. B.. 1937. Archaeological Journal. 94. Unknown. 130.
SDV18676Article in Serial: Radford, C. + Radford, C. A. R. + Oliver, B. W.. 1930. 9th Report on Ancient Monuments: Preservation Work at Frithelstock Priory. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 62. A5 Hardback. 117-118.
SDV18677Article in Serial: Walker, H. H.. 1961. Notes for a Study of Bishop Walter de Stapledon and the Church in the West Country in the Early 14th Century. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 93. A5 Hardback. 325.
SDV18678Article in Serial: R. B. M.. 1930 - 1931. Frithelstock Priory. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 16. Unknown. 85-86.
SDV18679Article in Serial: Chope, R. P.. 1928 - 1929. Frithelstock Priory Ruins. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 15. Unknown. 303-304.
SDV18680Article in Serial: Benson, J.. 1947 - 1949. The Founder of Frithelstock priory. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 23. Unknown. 73-78.
SDV18681Article in Serial: Radford, C. A. R.. 1940. The Cluniac Priory of St. James at Dudley. Antiquaries Journal. 20. Unknown. 451.
SDV18682Report - Assessment: Weddell, P. J.. 1986. Frithelstock. Devon Religious Houses Survey. 4. A4 Stapled.
SDV18683Article in Serial: Dredge, J. L.. 1892. Frithelstock Priory. Transactions of the Exeter Diocese Architectural and Archaeological Society. Unknown. 1-10.
SDV18684Monograph: Harding, W.. 1845. History of Tiverton. 1. Unknown. 81.
SDV18685Correspondence: Juniper, M.. 1989. Letter to John Allen. Letter + Digital.
SDV18687Un-published: Gibbons, P.. 1993. 134672. Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset.. Unknown.
SDV18699Article in Serial: Chipe, R. P.. 1933. History of Frithelstock Priory. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Exploration Society. 2. Paperback Volume. 5-19.
SDV18700Article in Serial: Radford, C. A. R.. 1933. Frithelstock Priory and Parish Church. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Exploration Society. 2. Paperback Volume. 20-27.
SDV18703Aerial Photograph: Unknown. SS4619. NMR Aerial Photograph.
SDV18706Article in Serial: Anonymous. 1933. Proceedings at the Annual Meeting. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 65. 31.
SDV18707Article in Serial: Radford, C. + Radford, C. A. R.. 1933. 12th Report on Ancient Monuments. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 65. 78.
SDV18710Aerial Photograph: Cambridge University. 1952. CUC/HU. Cambridge University Collection of Aerial Photographs. Photograph (Paper) + Digital (Scan). 88-90.
SDV18720Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1985. DAP/EI. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 6-7.
SDV18723Aerial Photograph: Unknown. 1953. ME 71-73. Cambridge University Collection of Aerial Photographs. Photograph (Paper).
SDV18724Aerial Photograph: Unknown. 1975. BUN 70-72. Cambridge University Collection of Aerial Photographs. Photograph (Paper).
SDV18730Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1989. DAP/NL. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 104.
SDV323253Monograph: Knowles, D. + Hadcock, R. N.. 1971. Medieval Religious Houses: England and Wales. Medieval Religious Houses: England and Wales. Unknown + Digital (part). 140, 157.
SDV325629Monograph: Cherry, B. + Pevsner, N.. 1989. The Buildings of England: Devon. The Buildings of England: Devon. Hardback Volume. 452.
SDV344967National Monuments Record Database: National Monuments Record. 2010. 32835. National Monuments Record Database. Website.
SDV344968Schedule Document: Ministry of Works. 1928. Frithelstock Priory Ruins. The Schedule of Monuments. Foolscap.
SDV344970Schedule Document: Department of National Heritage. 1994. Frithelstock Priory. The Schedule of Monuments. A4 Stapled. [Mapped feature: #91250 ]
SDV347681Un-published: Unknown. 1986 - 1987. Devon Religious Houses Survey. Devon Religious Houses Survey. Mixed Archive Material.
SDV351625Article in Serial: Coulter, J.. 2006. An Ecclesiastical Spat at Frithelstock. North Devon Archaeological Society Newsletter. 12. A5 Stapled + Digital. 21-22.
SDV357580Ground Photograph: Unknown. Unknown. Frithelstock Priory. Devon County Council Conservation Section Collection. Photograph (Paper) + Digital. Film 696.
SDV357581Ground Photograph: Unknown. Unknown. Frithelstock. Devon County Council Conservation Section Collection. Photograph (Paper) + Digital. Film 684.
SDV357630Correspondence: Gist, T.. 1996. Letter from Torridge Training. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV357631Un-published: Allan, J.. 1995. Object Enquiry Form. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV358497Record Office Collection: Copeland, G. W.. c1965. Photos. Photocopy + Digital.
SDV361783Schedule Document: Historic England. 2018. Frithelstock Priory, Licence to carry out a Geophysical Survey. Scheduled Monument Consent Letter. Digital.
SDV57424Monograph: Oliver, G.. 1846. Monasticon Diocesis Exoniensis. Monasticon Diocesis Exoniensis. Unknown. 219.
SDV64198Monograph: Griffith, F.. 1988. Devon's Past. An Aerial View. Devon's Past. An Aerial View. Paperback Volume. 80.

Associated Monuments

MDV29779Parent of: BUILDING in the Parish of Frithelstock (Monument)
MDV14658Parent of: CEMETERY in the Parish of Frithelstock (Monument)
MDV13832Parent of: CLOISTER in the Parish of Frithelstock (Monument)
MDV13831Parent of: ECCLESIASTICAL BUILDING in the Parish of Frithelstock (Monument)
MDV13830Parent of: FARMHOUSE in the Parish of Frithelstock (Building)
MDV14659Parent of: FINDSPOT in the Parish of Frithelstock (Find Spot)
MDV13833Parent of: Great Gate, Frithelstock Priory (Monument)
MDV421Related to: St. Mary and St. Gregory, Frithelstock (Building)
MDV429Related to: Sundial at Little Bickington St. Giles (Monument)
MDV66754Related to: Wadeclyve Chapel (Building)

Associated Finds

  • FDV1681 - ARCHITECTURAL FRAGMENT (XII to XV - 1200 AD to 1500 AD)
  • FDV1683 - TILE (XII to XV - 1200 AD to 1500 AD)
  • FDV1684 - TILE (XII to XVI - 1200 AD to 1600 AD)
  • FDV1682 - STAINED GLASS (WINDOW) (XIV to XVI - 1400 AD to 1600 AD)

Associated Events: none recorded


Date Last Edited:Jul 8 2019 8:55AM