Site of Cookhill Priory and 16th century farmhouse


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


© Crown Copyright and database right 2021. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2021. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1007623.pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 27-Nov-2021 at 00:33:18.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Stratford-on-Avon (District Authority)
Stratford-on-Avon (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SP 09406 63051

Reasons for Designation

A nunnery was a settlement built to sustain a community of religious women. Its main buildings were constructed to provide facilities for worship, accommodation and subsistence. The main elements are the church and domestic buildings arranged around a cloister. This central enclosure may be accompanied by an outer court and gatehouse, the whole bounded by a precinct wall, earthworks or moat. Outside the enclosure, fishponds, mills, field systems, stock enclosures and barns may occur. The earliest English nunneries were founded in the seventh century AD but most of these had fallen out of use by the ninth century. A small number of these were later refounded. The tenth century witnessed the foundation of some new houses but the majority of medieval nunneries were established from the late 11th century onwards. Nunneries were established by most of the major religious orders of the time, including the Benedictines, Cistercians, Augustinians, Franciscans and Dominicans. It is known from documentary sources that at least 153 nunneries existed in England, of which the precise locations of only around 100 sites are known. Few sites have been examined in detail and as a rare and poorly understood medieval monument type all examples exhibiting survival of archaeological remains are worthy of protection.

The monument is in a good state of preservation, unencumbered by modern building. It displays a wide range of features, with good historical documentation. Additionally, the site preserves remains of activity both pre and post-dating its religious use, allowing investigation of its changing function over several centuries.


The monument includes the remains of Cookhill Priory and the 16th century house site which succeeded it, visible in the form of well-defined building platforms surrounded by ditches, the earthworks of an associated irregular open field system, and a hollow way. The most prominent feature of the site is a raised platform in the central and northern part of the area of the scheduling which was originally partly moated. The platform is approximately 60m square and bears traces of ridge and furrow. The surrounding ditch is best preserved on the south and east sides of the platform, between 8m and 10m wide, and approximately 1m deep. The north side of the platform is defined by a stream which runs along the northern edge of the site. The south west corner of the platform and associated ditch, have been obscured by a second platform superimposed on it. Historical records, map evidence and a parish survey determine the second platform to be the remains of a substantial 16th century house. Surrounded by an irregular, seasonally waterlogged ditch on all sides, this platform measures 32m west-east by 20m north-south. Remains of charcoal and stone rubble have been located on the house site. A number of additional buildings are represented by a series of raised platforms close to the house platform, surrounded by an inter-connecting ditch system. There are earthworks visible to the north-east of the main site complex; an area of the monument known as 'The Infirmary' in the 18th century. There are small blocks of ridge and furrow cultivation with pronounced headlands to the west and south-east of the main platform complex. These fields are defined by shallow ditches and the largest enclosure, south-east of the main platform, measures approximately 80m square. The site was originally approached via a trackway from the Spernall-Morton Bagot road which is visible as a hollow way north-east of the present St Giles Farm. A silted-up ditch, which is included in the scheduling, can be traced leading from a shallow pond on the southern edge of the site to the Morton Brook. Isobel of Mauduit, Countess of Warwick, is said to have founded the Cistercian priory of Cookhill in 1260, although a law suit in 1227 confirms that a priory already existed at the site before this date. The poverty of Cookhill Priory appears to be the chief feature of its known history. A papal licence of 1400 says that the priory had been moved to Cookhill in Worcestershire, and the original priory buildings at Spernall were abandoned. In 1541 the land was granted to Thomas Broke, and to Nichols Fortescue the following year. By 1547 the priory had been replaced by a farmhouse; an estate map of about 1695 shows the house standing on the edge of the original moated platform.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County of Worcestershire, (1906), 156-8
Hooke, D, Spernall Parish Survey, (1980), 23
Hooke, D, Spernall Parish Survey, (1980), 22-25a
Hooke, D., Survey by Ordnance Survey with additions by D. Hooke, (1980)
Hooke, D., Survey by Ordnance Survey with additions by D. Hooke, (1980)


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

Your Contributions

Do you know more about this entry?

The following information has been contributed by users volunteering for our Enriching The List project. For small corrections to the List Entry please see our Minor Amendments procedure.

The information and images below are the opinion of the contributor, are not part of the official entry and do not represent the official position of Historic England. We have not checked that the contributions below are factually accurate. Please see our terms and conditions. If you wish to report an issue with a contribution or have a question please email [email protected].