Premonstratensian priory chapel 170m south west of Priory Farm


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


Ordnance survey map of Premonstratensian priory chapel 170m south west of Priory Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

North East Lincolnshire (Unitary Authority)
West Ravendale
National Grid Reference:
TF 22659 99674

Reasons for Designation

From the time of St Augustine's mission to re-establish Christianity in AD 597 to the reign of Henry VIII, monasticism formed an important facet of both religious and secular life in the British Isles. Settlements of religious communities, including monasteries, were built to house communities of monks, canons (priests), and sometimes lay-brothers, living a common life of religious observance under some form of systematic discipline. It is estimated from documentary evidence that over 700 monasteries were founded in England. These ranged in size from major communities with several hundred members to tiny establishments with a handful of brethren. They belonged to a wide variety of different religious orders, each with its own philosophy. As a result, they vary considerably in the detail of their appearance and layout, although all possess the basic elements of church, domestic accommodation for the community, and work buildings. Monasteries were inextricably woven into the fabric of medieval society, acting not only as centres of worship, learning and charity, but also, because of the vast landholdings of some orders, as centres of immense wealth and political influence. They were established in all parts of England, some in towns and others in the remotest of areas. Many monasteries acted as the foci of wide networks including parish churches, almshouses, hospitals, farming estates and tenant villages. The Premonstratensian order, or "White Canons", were not monks in the strict sense but rather communities of priests living together under a rule. The first Premonstratensian establishments were double houses (for men and women), but later they founded some 45 houses for men in England. The Premonstratensian order modelled itself on the Cistercian values of austerity and seclusion and founded all its monasteries in rural locations.

Very few Premonstratensian monasteries in England retain any standing walls and such remains of small rural priories of any order are also relatively rare nationally. The walling and associated buried remains at West Ravendale will provide insights into medieval monasticism which are not represented by the often more visually impressive remains of larger abbeys.


The monument includes standing and associated buried remains of a small medieval building thought to have been part of West Ravendale Priory. It is located 170m south west of Priory Farm. West Ravendale Priory was a small monastery belonging to the Premonstratensian Order, one of the smaller monastic orders in England and was a cell, a dependant institution, of Beauport Abbey in Brittany. It is thought to have been founded in circa 1202 by Alan, son of Earl Henry of Brittany. In the early 14th century the priory's buildings were described as ruinous. In 1381 West Ravendale had just two canons and the priory was dissolved in 1389, passing to the Crown. Some time between 1403 and 1413, West Ravendale was granted by Henry IV to his wife Joan of Navarre. Then, after her death in 1437, the estate was granted to the dean and chapter of Southwell College in 1439 or 1452. By 1878 the monument was described as retaining a single ruined building with the remains of both north and south doors, an east window and a tiled floor. The monument includes the remains of the building described in 1878. It is Listed Grade II and rectangular in plan, some 14m by 5m internally, orientated with its long axis approximately east-west. Part of the north and east walls remain standing up to 2.5m high, constructed of chalk, ironstone and flint rubble with some squared blocks. Footings of the rest of the walls survive as earthworks and buried remains. The building has been interpreted as an ante portas chapel, a small chapel sited outside of the gates to the priory. It is positioned on a raised mound up to 2m high which is 21m east-west and 14m north-south. This mound is also included within the monument and will retain additional buried remains related to the priory.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Record cards, Sites & Monuments Record, 1208, (2000)
Stopford, Jenny, Research project on medieval floor tiles - forthcoming, (2000)


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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