The house is on the site of a 13th-century Augustinian hospital. In the 1580s an Elizabethan house was built by Sir Lawrence Tanfield, incorporating remnants of the Priory Hospital. James I stayed at the priory for three nights in 1603. In the 17th century it was remodelled in Jacobean style, probably after 1634 when William Lenthall bought the estate from Tanfield's grandson, the 2nd Viscount Falkland, who had inherited it from his grandfather. Lenthall was one of the overseers of Tanfield's will and had married into his second wife's family. It remained in the Lenthall family until 1828. The Lenthall pictures were housed here until the collection was largely sold in the nineteenth century.
Usage by Church of England nuns and monks
From 1949 Burford Priory housed The Society of the Salutation of Our Lady, a community of Church of England nuns. In the 1980s the community's numbers dwindled so in 1987 it became a mixed community including Church of England Benedictine monks. In 2008 the community sold the property and it has now returned to being a private house. After a period of living in rented accommodation, the community moved into a new purpose built monastery in Worcestershire. The new monastery is on the site of a former farm and has taken the name of the farm becoming Mucknell Abbey.
The current owners and residents of Burford Priory are media businesswoman Elisabeth Murdoch, her husband Matthew Freud, owner of the public relations company Freud Communications, and their family.
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- Sherwood, Jennifer; Pevsner, Nikolaus (1974). Oxfordshire. The Buildings of England. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. pp. 510–511. ISBN 0-14-071045-0.
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