The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of the correrie or lower house for the lay brothers of Hinton Priory which was founded in the early C13 and abandoned probably in the C14.
Reasons for Designation
The earthwork and buried remains of the correrie or lower house to Hinton Priory, founded in the early C13, are scheduled for the following principal reasons:
* Survival: the site survives comparatively well and is largely unencumbered by modern development;
* Potential: for the stratified archaeological deposits which will increase our understanding of the character and occupation of the correrie, as well as the social and economic organisation of the Carthusian Order more generally;
* Rarity: it is a very rare and significant site being one of only two or possibly three confirmed correries in England;
* Documentation: the site is quite well-documented having been subject to research and geophysical survey;
* Association: for its strong historic relationship with Hinton Priory, an early Carthusian monastery and a scheduled monument.
The Carthusian order originated as a late-C11 hermitic order, associated with St Bruno of Cologne, who established a monastery at La Grande Chartreuse, near Grenoble, France in 1084. It was formalised in the C12 and was part of a widespread phenomenon at this time when individuals and small groups seeking solitude for religious devotion sought to live as hermits in loosely-organised groups. The Carthusians were almost unique amongst the religious orders in favouring a life of total withdrawal from the world to serve God by personal devotion and privation, and the monks lived largely in isolation within individual cells. In the earliest priories or charterhouses (a corruption of chartreuse) as they were known, and in order to isolate the monks further from the outside world, essential tasks were undertaken by lay brothers and labourers. In contrast to all other orders, one of the characteristic features of the Carthusians was the establishment of separate houses for the monks and for the lay brothers. Instead of occupying part of the monastery, as for example with the Cistercians, lay brothers had their own lower house (domus inferior) or correrie, also known as a friary (or frerie from the French word frère for brother), away from the charterhouse (domus superior). The layout of the correrie responded to a requirement to be functional and typically included a chapel, accommodation for lay brothers and probably for servants, a kitchen, agricultural outbuildings such as barns, stables and dovecotes, and possibly an infirmary and a guesthouse; often all enclosed by a precinct wall. Many of the later Carthusian foundations, probably from the C14, abandoned separate houses for lay brothers in favour of a second enclosure within the charterhouse itself providing accommodation for the brothers, servants and guests.
The Carthusian charterhouse at Hinton (originally Henton) was founded in the early C13 by Ela, Countess of Salisbury. Her husband, and the illegitimate son of Henry II, William Longespeé, had previously established a priory at Hatherop in Gloucestershire in 1222 but following his death in 1226 the monks appealed to his widow complaining that their current site was unsuitable and the endowments too small, and asked her for a new, more remote site. She gave them her manors at Hinton in 1227 and the monastery was dedicated in 1232. A separate lower house or correrie was also established for a small community of lay brothers, some 1km to the east of Hinton Priory, within a clearing in Friary Wood, close to the River Frome. The correrie was probably abandoned during the C14 by which time a separate house for lay brothers would have been inappropriate (Aston, 1990), and it is recorded that by 1535 (Dunning, 1991) the correrie site was being leased out by the monks. During the Dissolution Hinton Priory surrendered to the Crown in March 1539 at which time it housed the Prior, 16 monks and 6 lay brothers. Parson’s 1638 survey of the Manors of Norton St Philip and Henton (Hinton) refers to the ‘Fryary And Certeine pasture ground Lyinge within a stone wall there. And one Close of pasture next adioyning East called Corne Close’ and notes the names of five tenants. On Day and Masters’ Survey of Somerset of 1742 the site is known as Friery Green and by 1785 as the Hamlet of Friary. A mid-C19 account (Spencer, 1844) refers to the foundations of the church being visible and that the ‘spot is called the Old Church’, but by the late C19 these remains had ‘disappeared’ (Foxcroft, 1893), though the names Friary and Old Church remained. There are also references to a mill and a tannery at the site and although it is not possible to establish whether either was contemporary with the correrie, there is a reference that Hinton Priory was carrying out tanning during the C14. Parts of the site have been the subject of earthwork and geophysical surveys (Hawke, 2015 and Breeden, 2016) which found below-ground evidence of buildings, lengths of walling and enclosures associated with the correrie; some of the latter are visible on aerial photographs of 1945, 1946 and 1968.
A field investigation carried out in 1995 (RCHME) suggested that one of the cottages at the site, Woodman’s Cottage, incorporates some C14 masonry, though it is unclear whether these fragments have been re-used. The Hinton Abbey Estate map of 1785 depicts a large building with an L-shaped footprint in this location indicating that Woodman’s Cottage represents the surviving eastern part of a larger building. It retains a fireplace with four-centred arched surround of C17 date, and it is likely that the building was constructed at this time but using some earlier fabric.
Some 190m south-west of Woodman’s Cottage is Ela’s Well (not included in the scheduling) a stone-lined well which is believed to have been named after Ela, Countess of Salisbury and is where one of the springs that supplied fresh water to Friary rises.
The correrie is situated in a woodland clearing, now the hamlet of Friary, within the valley of the River Frome. It occupies gently rising ground and is approached from the south-west by a track which descends steeply through Friary Wood and then bisects the site. To the west of the track the land rises steeply towards the wood.
The earthwork and buried remains of the correrie are concentrated to the north-east, east and south of Woodman’s Cottage, in an area known as Old Church or Chapel Field (centred on ST 7885 5913). A number of slight earthworks are evident in this area, corresponding broadly with the location of earthwork and high resistance features recorded during the geophysical survey (Hawke, 2015 and Breeden, 2016). To the north-east of Woodman’s Cottage is a large rectangular platform which is defined by a scarp circa 0.1m high and measures some 50m by 30m. It corresponds closely with the buried remains of a rectangular range identified during the 2016 survey to the north-east of Woodman’s Cottage. This structure is aligned west to east and there is evidence for internal divisions which may relate to the individual cells of the lay brothers. It appears to form the north side of a courtyard or cloister. A linear feature, possibly a wall, is also visible aligned north-south as far as Holzern Lodge. It defines the east side of the courtyard. To the south of the rectangular range there appears to be a further building. The 2016 survey also revealed evidence for further features, including the possible corner of another building, adjacent to the western boundary to the boundary to Woodman’s Cottage, on the west side of the access road. During the late C20 large quantities of dressed stone were uncovered to the north-east and east of Woodman’s Cottage during agricultural work and the excavation of a service trench respectively. Further dressed stone is evident in the gardens of Woodman’s Cottage and River House (Whistler's Hollow on the current Ordnance Survey map) to the north-west. Groundwork in advance of the construction of an extension to the east gable end of Woodman's Cottage in the early C21 uncovered a section of walling some 3m wide which may relate to the larger building shown in this location on the 1785 estate map. Several smaller platforms or terraces are also visible to the south of Woodman’s Cottage and correspond to an area of amorphous high resistance anomalies and wall lines recorded during the geophysical surveys.
EXTENT OF MONUMENT
Although this is a nationally important site, we do not have sufficient evidence of significant archaeology in the western and northern parts of Friary to justify their inclusion in the scheduled area, nor sufficient certainty to include all the western and southern areas of the precinct within a scheduled monument. Should further evidence of archaeological survival and potential come to light, the extent of the scheduling may be reconsidered.
Woodman’s Cottage, Holzern Lodge, their outbuildings and boundary walls, the electricity and telephone poles, all fencing, gates and modern surfaces are excluded from the scheduling, but the ground beneath these features, is however, included.