Part of a Cistercian grange, north of New Romney High Street, also known as Romney Priory


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


Ordnance survey map of Part of a Cistercian grange, north of New Romney High Street, also known as Romney Priory
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Shepway (District Authority)
New Romney
National Grid Reference:
TR 06422 24856

Reasons for Designation

A monastic grange was a farm owned and run by a monastic community and independent of the secular manorial system of communal agriculture and servile labour. The function of granges was to provide food and raw materials for consumption within the parent monastic house itself, and also to provide surpluses for sale for profit. The first monastic granges appeared in the 12th century but they continued to be constructed and used until the Dissolution. This system of agriculture was pioneered by the Cistercian order but was soon imitated by other orders. Some granges were worked by resident lay-brothers (secular workers) of the order but others were staffed by non-resident labourers. The majority of granges practised a mixed economy but some were specialist in their function. Five types of grange are known: agrarian farms, bercaries (sheep farms), vaccaries (cattle ranches), horse studs and industrial complexes. A monastery might have more than one grange and the wealthiest houses had many. Frequently a grange was established on lands immediately adjacent to the monastery, this being known as the home grange. Other granges, however, could be found wherever the monastic site held lands. On occasion these could be located at some considerable distance from the parent monastery. Granges are broadly comparable with contemporary secular farms although the wealth of the parent house was frequently reflected in the size of the grange and the layout and architectural embellishment of the buildings. Additionally, because of their monastic connection, granges tend to be much better documented than their secular counterparts. No region was without monastic granges. The exact number of sites which originally existed is not precisely known but can be estimated, on the basis of numbers of monastic sites, at several thousand. Of these, however, only a small percentage can be accurately located on the ground today. Of this group of identifiable sites, continued intensive use of many has destroyed much of the evidence of archaeological remains. In view of the importance of granges to medieval rural and monastic life, all sites exhibiting good archaeological survival are identified as nationally important.

The remains of the monastic grange at Romney have survived well since the 13th century when they were first built. The monument represents an unusual phase in English ecclesiastical history, which ended with the dissolution of the `alien' houses under Henry V. Below ground remains of the medieval period will have been preserved in the area to the west of the upstanding medieval features, since the entire garden area was brick-paved - probably in the 18th century - and has not been disturbed since.


The monument includes part of what survives upstanding of the so-called Cistercian priory of Romney, which is now interpreted as a monastic grange, and burial remains beneath the upstanding structure and in an open area to the west. The upstanding remains are in the form of a small medieval building with a medieval stone wall running northwards from it. The building itself is in use as a workshop and is excluded from the scheduling; the wall is included. The monument stands to the north of New Romney High Street, in the grounds of an 18th century house called St John's Priory House. The small medieval building is of stone rubble and fronts on to Ashford Road abutting a red brick 18th century house which lies outside the monument. The medieval structure is of two storeys with various modern internal fittings. A wall of medieval stones runs northwards from the structure as far as a modern red brick shop on the corner of Ashford Road and North Street. To the west of the building and the wall is a large garden, divided in two by a wall built of brick and medieval stone, running westwards from the north wall of the medieval building. An archway surrounded by medieval stonework has been preserved at the extreme east of the wall next to the house, and it is likely that it is an original feature associated with the priory. The southern garden contains a brick-lined tank and a hand-pump, probably both associated with the 18th century St John's Priory House. Below ground remains of the medieval period will have been preserved in the area to the west of the upstanding medieval features, since the entire garden area was brick-paved - probably in the 18th century - and it has not been disturbed since. During the medieval period, the Cistercian abbey of Pontigny enjoyed close links with the Archbishops of Canterbury. In 1222, Archbishop Stephen Langton granted 50 marks per annum to the abbey from `the church of Romney'. This grant was confirmed by Christchurch, Canterbury and by Pope Honorius III in the same year. In 1264 Archbishop Boniface granted the advowson of the church of St Nicholas at Romney to the abbey of Pontigny, and Romney thus became a cell of the abbey, although it is unlikely that there was ever a regular monastic settlement in the town. It is thought more likely that the `priory' was actually run as a grange. During the wars with France in the 14th and 15th centuries, the possessions of the abbey were taken into the king's custody and let out to farm. The possessions of the foreigners were finally confiscated in c.1414 by Henry V, and in 1439 Henry VI granted `the Priory of Romney' to the College of All Souls, Oxford. The medieval building and wall are Listed at Grade II*, as is the 18th century house to the south. The medieval building is in use as an upholsterer's workroom and is thus excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath it is included. The medieval wall and the gardens to the west of the building are all included in the scheduling, as is the dividing wall between the two gardens. The pump and tank are excluded, along with the garden shed close to the shop, the steps leading up to the dividing wall and the brick paved surface of the gardens, the black `post-box' inserted into the outer face of the medieval wall along with any service trenches below ground surface and their access points in the gardens; the ground beneath all these features is, however, included in the scheduling.

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
District of Shepway - Borough of New Romney, (1973), 15
Fowler, R C, The Victoria History of the County of Kent: Priory of New Romney, (1926), 239
Pevsner, N, Newman, J, The Buildings of England: West Kent and the Weald, (1980), 434-435


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

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