Little Malvern Priory
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1005319
Date first listed: 10-Mar-1977
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Malvern Hills (District Authority)
Parish: Little Malvern
National Grid Reference: SO 77011 40364
Little Malvern Priory and preaching cross 150m south of North Farm.
Reasons for Designation
Early monasteries were built to house communities of monks or nuns; sometimes houses were `mixed' and included both sexes. The main buildings provided facilities for worship, accommodation and subsistence. They included a series of timber halls and perhaps a stone church, all located within some form of enclosure. The Benedictine monks, who wore dark robes, came to be known as `black monks'. These dark robes distinguished them from Cistercian monks who became known as `white monks' on account of their light coloured robes. Over 150 Benedictine monasteries were founded in England. As members of a highly successful order many Benedictine houses became extremely wealthy and influential. Their wealth can frequently be seen in the scale and flamboyance of their buildings. Benedictine monasteries made a major contribution to many facets of medieval life and all examples exhibiting significant surviving archaeological remains are worthy of protection. Despite partial destruction and the creation of a formal garden, Little Malvern Priory and preaching cross survive comparatively well and form an integral part of a nationally important priory. The monument contains a number of architectural features of considerable interest and will provide important information on its construction and use.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 21 May 2015. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records. As such they do not yet have the full descriptions of their modernised counterparts available. Please contact us if you would like further information.
This monument includes a Benedictine priory and a preaching cross situated on a small ridge opposite the Malvern Hills. The monument survives as standing walls and buried foundations of the transepts, chapels, vestry and cloister walls not incorporated into Little Malvern Court, and a freestanding preaching cross. The priory was constructed in the 12th century of sandstone with additions during the 13th and 14th centuries. The chapels and transepts are situated on the north and south of the Church of St. Giles and are denoted by standing walls up to about 3m high composed largely of red sandstone with some ashlar blocks. The southern transept abuts the southern wall of the tower and has a 12th century cloister doorway on the western wall. The southern chapel is situated to the west and retains chamfered arches and window tracery. The northern transept and chapel abut the northern tower wall and the western transept. Excavations in 1996 revealed 13th century cloister arcade walls and archaeological deposits situated to the south and east of the church. The buried foundations of the vestry are situated to the east of the chancel of the church. The preaching cross is situated south of Little Malvern Court and is about 1.3m high with an octagonal shaft over a 0.4m square base surmounted by a modern sundial.
The Benedictine priory was founded in 1171 and dissolved in 1537. The site is now occupied by a house named Little Malvern Court that retains many priory features. The church of St. Giles and Little Malvern Court are listed buildings.
Earthwork banks and ponds survive to the south and south west of the monument, but are not currently protected because they have not been formally assessed.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: WT 218
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
Books and journals
Bowden, M, Field, D, Winton, H, The Malvern Hills an Ancient Landscape, (2008)
Page, W, Willis-Bund, J W (editors), The Victoria History of the County of Worcester: Volume IV, (1924)
Pevsner, N, Brooks, A, The Buildings of England: Worcestershire, (2007)
Pastscape Monument Nos:- 113780, 868515 & 868514
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing