Heritage Category:
Listed Building
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Date first listed:
Statutory Address:


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Statutory Address:

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

Central Bedfordshire (Unitary Authority)
Campton and Chicksands
National Grid Reference:
TL 12165 39294



7/17 Chicksands Priory


Country house, incorporating remains of a Gilbertine priory. The priory, a double house of the order of Gilbert of Sempringham (the only medieval religious order of English origin), founded c.1150 by Rose and Payn de Beauchamp. Only about 11 such houses were founded, Chicksands being about the 3rd largest with 55 canons and 120 nuns. Surviving remains are C13 and C15. Dissolved 1539. Granted first to Richard and Elizabeth Snowe, passed soon (by 1587) into the possession of the Osborn family, who held it until 1938 when it became Crown property. Altered c.1735-40 by Isaac Ware for Sir Danvers Osborn. Reworked 1815 (and possibly earlier) by James Wyatt in Gothic Revival style for Sir George Osborn. Coursed limestone, completely rendered to exterior, with ashlar dressing. Later blocks red brick with ashlar dressings. Clay tile roofs hipped at SW and SE corners. Principal block is reworking of the south cloister of the priory, and retains quadrangle. Later C19 addition and service wing to N, forming S and E sides of a stable courtyard. 2 storeys and attics. Main block: E elevation has quatrefoiled moulded eaves cornice and 3-stage set back buttresses rising to pinnacles. Evenly spaced range of 7 windows, all of 2 trefoiled lights under 4-centred heads with hood moulds, imitating some of the original priory windows. To LH, ground floor has single light, above which is C15 canted oriel window containing fragments of medieval glass. Single-storey porch below central window has pointed arched doorway and ornate embattled parapet and pinnacles. S and W elevations are stylistically similar, with pinnacled buttresses, S elevation with same eaves cornice. S elevation has unevenly spaced first floor windows, again copies of a C15 original, and a central canted bay to ground floor with pointed arched windows and doorway which have intersecting glazing bars. W elevation has irregular fenestration, mostly of 2 and 3-lights under square heads, with 6 hipped dormers to attic. Variety of chimneys, mostly ridge stacks. Later N block: To E elevation this has mostly windows of 2 4-centred arched lights under flat heads. The projecting crow- stepped gable has canted bay, corbelling out to a rectangular bay at first floor. N of this is 4-centred archway into stable courtyard. Multiple ridge stacks with diagonal shafts. At N end is late Cl8 block which has blocked pointed-arched openings. Elevations overlooking stable courtyard have mostly simple mullion and transom windows, gabled dormers, and doorways with 4- centred heads. Pointed arched openings to C18 block. Interior: ground floor of main block retains medieval features. N wall, originally S wall of the church, has small C13 doorway at W end. W range has 7 bays of double-span vaulting with central octagonal columns. S range retains 2 C15 windows, overlooking quadrangle, of 4 lights under 4-centred heads. E range, reworked by Wyatt in C15 style (and extended westwards into quadrangle) has vaulted ceiling, broad staircase lit by 3-light quatrefoiled window and crocketed and canopied niches. First floor decoration mostly early C19 in fairly restrained style. Variety of foliate plasterwork, carved doors and surrounds, and carved marble and wood chimney pieces to many of the rooms. To W of N wing is octagonal room created by Wyatt, with ribbed vaulted ceiling. Large central room of E wing has polychrome painted decoration in Pompeian style, probably c.1835 when Thomas Potter MacQueen (MP and collector) was a tenant. To N of W wing is a gallery, now without decoration. E and S ranges retain medieval moulded timbers above central rooms, originally open to roof. Scheduled Ancient Monument.

S. Houfe, "The Builders of Chicksands Priory", Beds Magazine, vol. 16, pp.185- l89, pp.228-231. V.C.H., (Beds.), vol 2, pp.271-275.

Listing NGR: TL1216539294


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

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Books and journals
Doubleday, AH, Page, W, The Victoria History of the County of Bedford, (1904), 271-275
'Bedfordshire Magazine' in Bedfordshire Magazine, (), 185-189
'Bedfordshire Magazine' in Bedfordshire Magazine, (), 228-231
Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England, Part 2 Bedfordshire,


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

Images of England

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Date: 23 Jun 2000
Reference: IOE01/00281/03
Rights: Copyright IoE John Webber. Source Historic England Archive
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