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HER Number:MDV8408
Name:Gatehouse at Cornworthy Priory

Summary

Medieval gatehouse at Cornworthy Priory built in the 15th century

Location

Grid Reference:SX 821 556
Map Sheet:SX85NW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishCornworthy
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishCORNWORTHY

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: 445997
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX85NW/10/1
  • Old Listed Building Ref (I): 100992
  • Old SAM County Ref: 409
  • Old SAM Ref: 24839
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: SX85NW13.1
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: SX85NW27

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • GATEHOUSE (XIV to Late Medieval - 1400 AD to 1539 AD (Between))

Full description

Weddell, P. J., Devon Religious Houses Survey 1986/87. Preliminary Assessment Form. Cornworthy (Un-published). SDV358493.


Ordnance Survey, 1880-1899, First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map (Cartographic). SDV336179.

'Priory (Remains of Gateway)' shown on 19th century map as a rectangular building to the east of the road.


Ordnance Survey, 1904 - 1906, Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map (Cartographic). SDV325644.

'Gateway Remains of Priory' shown on early 20th century map.


Anon, 1920 - 1921, The Priory for Nuns of St Mary, Cornworthy, 1-57 (Article in Serial). SDV346585.

The gatehouse is described and illustrated. Other details: Plates and Map.


Windeatt, E. + Watkin, H. R., 1921, Priory of Cornworthy (Article in Serial). SDV346584.


Pevsner, N., 1952, The Buildings of England: South Devon, 92 (Monograph). SDV336217.

The gatehouse has turrets, a separate entrance for pedestrians and a vault with transverse ribs.


Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1953 - 1961, SX85NW13 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV346581.

Built of slate-like stone with granite vaultings, and within south-east corner a stone spiral staircase leads to upper storey. Upper storey ruined, but lower one in reasonably good state of preservation. Other details: Photograph.


Ministry of Works, 1958, Cornworthy Priory Gatehouse (Schedule Document). SDV346590.

Cornworthy Priory was a house of Augustinian canonesses, probably founded by Eva de Cantelupe (born Braose), Lady of Totnes, or by her mother (a marshall) circa 1230. The endowments were largely from Marshall estates; the founder's rights passed with Lordship of Totnes. Dissolved 1536. Fine 15th century gatehouse, carriage arch to south pointed, with ribbed barrel vault, pedestrian arch to north round, with ribs and bosses to vault. Largely complete except for parapet, but ivy grown. Other details: Monument 409.


Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 1961, Cornworthy (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV340356.

Gatehouse of Augustinian Priory at Cornworthy. Circa 1400 gatehouse of the priory of Augustinian nuns which was founded here between 1205 and 1238. Dressed shale rubble with granite dressings. Now roofless but with stone vaulted carriageway Plan: The circa 1400 gatehouse is all that survives above ground of the early 13th century priory, although there are distinct remains of walls to the southeast. The outer side of the gatehouse faces west. The main carriageway to the right and a smaller footway through to the left of the carriageway. Towards the back on the right hand side there is a stair turret, entered from inside the main carriageway. There is a garderobe in the right hand front corner (southwest) of the gatehouse. The walls of the chamber above the archways rise to gables at either side, the upper courses of which have fallen. There was formerly a lower range on the left (north) side and an adjoining wall on the right hand side at the front (southwest). Exterior: The west front has a large carriageway to the right with dressed slate chamfered joists and a moulded granite 4-centred arch on moulder corbels at the springing. Above the carriageway a small niche with an unmoulded 3 centred granite head. To left of the west front the footway has a chamfered shale round arch and a loop above to the right. The opposite inside east elevation is similar but in reverse and without the niche and loop, although there is a small loop to the left of the carriageway. The south side has partly fallen. The doorway at the top of the turret to the first floor chamber is now exposed to the exterior. The north sided wall shows signs of the former lower range from which there is a squint to the footway. All the exterior walls have putlog holes. Interior: The carriageway a stone vault with chamfered granite transverse and longitudinal ribs, like a wagon roof, and a moulded granite wall plate and fleuron bosses. The footway has a quadripartite vault with granite ribs and carved bosses. The doorway inside the carriageway to the stair turret has a moulded granite 2-centred arch with cusped spandrels; and a stone newel stair. The garderobe to the first floor chamber has a rectangular shaft. Other details: LBS No 100992.


Copeland, G. W., 1964, Demolition of Historic Buildings, 391 (Article in Serial). SDV20152.


Copeland, G. W., 1965, Proceedings at the 103rd Annual Meeting, 29 (Article in Serial). SDV145408.

Cornworthy priory gatehouse. Built in the early 15th century, now ruinous. It is a two stage building with lierne-vaulted stone roofs to the two passages through it.


Griffith, F. M., 1982, Cornworthy Priory (Personal Comment). SDV346593.

Site visited on 17th July 1982. The upper storey, still accessible by the stair, being largely missing. The floor level appears different on opposite sides of the main door, and the corbel table of the vaulting also differs. Condition in general is fair. Terracing visible in the field below gatehouse, but hay crop prevented detailed inspection. Two small surface quarries visible over hedge in field to south - presumably associated.


Unknown, 1982, Cornworthy Priory, 5 (Ground Photograph). SDV346595.

Other details: Film 547.


Weddell, P. J., 1986, Cornworthy Priory, 7-8 (Report - Survey). SDV347678.

The only visible remains of the priory is the 15th century gatehouse which survives in fairly complete form although most of the upper storey has gone. It has two entrances, one for pedestrians and one for carriages. The carriage arch at the south end is 3.35 metres high with a barrel vaulted roof and carved bosses which are now very worn. The pedestrian entrance originally had a door, 1.4 metres wide and the sockets for the cross bars that went across it survive on the south side. All the door jambs and decorative features were of granite, some of which have been removed, one now lying at the entrance to Court Prior Farm. The main structure is of roughly dressed local slate-like stone. The doorway to the stair turret is at the east end of the carriage archway. The turret has a newel stair leading up to the south-east corner of the former upper room. There was a window in the west wall above a smaller opening which probably lit/ventilated a store or chamber uner the upper floor. There were probably two windows in the east wall and a fireplace in the north wall. The garderobe in the upper floor is still clearly visible. There is the scar of a gable roof line of a former attached building on the north side of the gatehouse.


Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England, 1992, Cornworthy Priory (Report - Survey). SDV346583.

Two storey structure of roughly coursed shale, 9.5 metres by 6 metres with stair turret on south side. Two vaulted passages for vehicular and pedestrian access. Stair turret, 1.6 metres by 2.9 metres, contains spiral stair providing access to s side of ruinous 1st floor. Upper storey roofless: north wall survives to eaves height, the others have only a few courses surviving. On north wall is a collapsed chimney flue. Upper storey was lit by three windows which survive to sill level garderobe in south-west corner. Floor of upper storey no longer survives, and grassed curve of vault below is now visible. Local tradition states that tile was found during removal of debris over the arches. On south side, a wall scar marks former junction with precinct wall. On north side is wall and gable scar of a former range running north from the gatehouse.


Department of National Heritage, 1994, Cornworthy Priory (Schedule Document). SDV346591.

Cornworthy Priory is located at the western end of the village of Cornworthy, at the head of a small valley to the south of Bow Creek, an inlet on the west side of the Dart estuary. The monument includes the upstanding and buried remains of an Augustinian nunnery in occupation from the early 13th century until 1536. The visible remains exist in the form of ruined stone structures together with a series of low earthworks. They include the substantial remains of the gatehouse and a small section of the precinct wall which encloses a natural spring on the highest part of the site. The walls are constructed of random dressed rubble utilising local grey slates and shales, with much of the architectural detail in contrasting Dartmoor granite. The most significant upstanding remains are those of the 15th century gatehouse which stands as an isolated structure of considerable visual impact at the head of the valley. It is rectangular in plan measuring 9.5 metres by 6 metres with two arched and vaulted passageways aligned east to west. The north wall stands to almost its full height. The main southern passage for mounted travellers and wheeled vehicles has a tunnel vault, decorated with chamfered ribs, bosses, moulded wallplates, and moulded outer arches in granite. The smaller pedestrian passage has a ribbed vault, with the ribs and decorated bosses in granite, between outer arches in shale. Both vaults were divided centrally by arches and jambs, which have been robbed, on which the doors were hung. In the south-east corner of the main passageway a door with a moulded granite arch opens onto a spiral stair which is in part housed externally in a turret. It leads to a second storey room furnished with three windows, a fireplace and garderobe (toilet) closet. The floor was supported by joists, allowing space in the northern half for an underfloor chamber, above the lower pedestrian passage, lit by one narrow window to the west. The north gable-end of the gatehouse has the vestigial remains of a single storey porter's lodge which has a squint into the pedestrian passage and facility for withdrawing the two draw-bars of the gate. The quality of the remains of the gatehouse at Cornworthy places it amongst the most important buildings of this type and does not reflect the poverty of the priory. Other details: Monument 24839.


Gibbons, P., 1994, Cornworthy Priory (Un-published). SDV346295.

Site visited on 7th August 1993. Gatehouse 9.5 metres by 6 metres with two arched and vaulted passageways aligned east to west. North wall stands to almost full height. In south-east corner of main passageway a door opens onto a spiral stair, part-housed in a turret, leading to 2nd storey room with three windows, fireplace and garderobe closet. Floor was supported by joists allowing space in northern half for an underfloor chamber above the smaller (pedestrian) passage. North gable end has vestigial remains of single-storey porter's lodge with squint into pedestrian passageway and facility for withdrawing the gate draw-bars. Farmer reports finding numerous fragments of lead pipes when ploughing field containing gatehouse in 1970. No building stone found.


Matthews, A. J., 1995, Survey of Cornworthy Priory Gatehouse (Report - Survey). SDV346594.

Photographic and drawn record made in 1995.


South Hams District Council, 2002, Cornworthy Conservation Area Appraisal (Report - non-specific). SDV356439.

An Augustinian Priory was founded here between 1205 and 1238. The Gatehouse is all that remains above the ground and dates from circa 1400. The absence of buildings along the south side Abbey Road is probably due to tis forming the northern boundary of the Priory's preciinct, while within its east ent, Court Prior may well preserve some of the Priory's domestic buildings in its fabric. The rest of the Priory buildings were doubtless 'quarried' after the disolution for use in village buildings. But it is the survival of the Gatehouse, that preserves the village's long and reverential association with priory occupation.


National Monuments Record, 2011, 445997 (National Monuments Record Database). SDV346597.

Ruins of a two-storey, stone gatehouse to Cornworthy Priory built circa 1400. It has pedestrian and cartway entrances on the ground and a single large heated chamber with garderobe on the first floor.


English Heritage, 2011, Historic Houses Register (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV346128.

Priory Gatehouse at Cornworhty was Listed on 9th February 1961. Gatehouse of Augustinian priory built circa 1400. Gatehouse of the priory of Augustinian nuns which was founded here between 1205 and 1238. Dressed shale rubble with granite dressings. Now roofless but with stone vaulted carriageway Plan: The circa 1400 gatehouse is all that survives above ground of the early 13th century priory, although there are distinct remains of walls to the south-east. The outer side of the gatehouse faces west. The main carriageway to the right and a smaller footway through to the left of the carriageway. Towards the back on the right hand side there is a stair turret, entered from inside the main carriageway. There is a garderobe in the right hand front corner (south-west) of the gatehouse. The walls of the chamber above the archways rise to gables at either side, the upper courses of which havefallen. There was formerly a lower range on the left (north) side and an adjoining wall on the right hand side at the front (south-west). Exterior: The west front has a large carriageway to the right with dressed slate chamfered joists and a moulded granite 4-centred arch on moulder corbels at the springing. Above the carriageway a small niche with an unmoulded 3-centred granite head. To left of the west front the footway has a chamfered shale round arch and a loop above to the right. The opposite inside east elevation is similar but in reverse and without the niche and loop, although there is a small loop to the left of the carriageway. The south side has partly fallen. The doorway at the top of the turret to the first floor chamber is now exposed to the exterior. The north sided wall shows signs of the former lower range from which there is a squint to the footway. All the exterior walls have putlog holes. Interior: The carriageway a stone vault with chamfered granite transverse and longitudinal ribs, like a wagon roof, and a moulded granite wall plate and fleuron bosses. The footway has a quadripartite vault with granite ribs and carved bosses. The doorway inside the carriageway to the stair turret has a moulded granite 2-centred arch with cusped spandrels; and a stone newel stair. The garderobe to the first floor chamber has a rectangular shaft. Other details: LBS Number 100992.


Ordnance Survey, 2011, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV346129.

'Gatehouse (remains of)' and 'Priory (Augustinian)' shown on modern mapping. Map object based on this Source.


Ordnance Survey, 2015, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV357601.

Ruins marked. Map object based on this source.


Dean Milles, c1755, West View of Ye Gate of the Priory of Cornworthy (Illustration). SDV358495.


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

Sources / Further Reading

SDV145408Article in Serial: Copeland, G. W.. 1965. Proceedings at the 103rd Annual Meeting. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 97. A5 Hardback. 29.
SDV20152Article in Serial: Copeland, G. W.. 1964. Demolition of Historic Buildings. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 96. A5 Hardback. 391.
SDV325644Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1904 - 1906. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV336217Monograph: Pevsner, N.. 1952. The Buildings of England: South Devon. The Buildings of England: South Devon. Paperback Volume. 92.
SDV340356List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department for Culture, Media and Sport. 1961. Cornworthy. Historic Houses Register. Website.
SDV346128List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: English Heritage. 2011. Historic Houses Register. Historic Houses Register. Website.
SDV346129Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2011. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital).
SDV346295Un-published: Gibbons, P.. 1994. Cornworthy Priory. Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset.. A4 Stapled.
SDV346581Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1953 - 1961. SX85NW13. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV346583Report - Survey: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. 1992. Cornworthy Priory. Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England Report. A4 Stapled.
SDV346584Article in Serial: Windeatt, E. + Watkin, H. R.. 1921. Priory of Cornworthy. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 11.1. Unknown.
SDV346585Article in Serial: Anon. 1920 - 1921. The Priory for Nuns of St Mary, Cornworthy. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 11 Part 2. Photocopy + Digital. 1-57.
SDV346590Schedule Document: Ministry of Works. 1958. Cornworthy Priory Gatehouse. The Schedule of Monuments. Foolscap.
SDV346591Schedule Document: Department of National Heritage. 1994. Cornworthy Priory. The Schedule of Monuments. A4 Stapled.
SDV346593Personal Comment: Griffith, F. M.. 1982. Cornworthy Priory.
SDV346594Report - Survey: Matthews, A. J.. 1995. Survey of Cornworthy Priory Gatehouse. Exeter Archaeology Report. 95.58. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV346595Ground Photograph: Unknown. 1982. Cornworthy Priory. Conservation Section Photograph Collection. Photograph (Paper). 5.
SDV346597National Monuments Record Database: National Monuments Record. 2011. 445997. National Monuments Record Database. Website.
SDV347678Report - Survey: Weddell, P. J.. 1986. Cornworthy Priory. Devon Religious Houses Survey. 12. A4 Stapled + Digital. 7-8.
SDV356439Report - non-specific: South Hams District Council. 2002. Cornworthy Conservation Area Appraisal. South Hams District Council. A2 Folded + Digital.
SDV357601Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2015. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital.
SDV358493Un-published: Weddell, P. J.. Devon Religious Houses Survey 1986/87. Preliminary Assessment Form. Cornworthy. Devon Religious Houses Survey. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV358495Illustration: Dean Milles. c1755. West View of Ye Gate of the Priory of Cornworthy. Photocopy + Digital.
SDV358497Record Office Collection: Copeland, G. W.. c1965. Photos. Photocopy + Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV8407Part of: Cornworthy Priory (Monument)
MDV50065Related to: Building at Cornworthy Priory (Monument)
MDV50067Related to: Building Platform at Cornworthy Priory (Monument)
MDV50072Related to: Wall at Cornworthy Priory (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded


Date Last Edited:Sep 27 2018 3:27PM