The ruins of Kirkham Priory are situated on the banks of the River Derwent, at Kirkham, North Yorkshire, England. The Augustinian priory was founded in the 1120s by Walter l'Espec, lord of nearby Helmsley, who also built Rievaulx Abbey. Legend has it that Kirkham was founded in remembrance of l'Espec's only son who had died nearby as a consequence of his horse being startled by a boar. The area was later used to test the D-Day landing vehicles, and was visited by Winston Churchill. The ruins are now Grade I listed and in the care of English Heritage.
The Gatehouse of Kirkham Priory, built c.1290-5, is a specimen of English Gothic medieval architecture. It is a rare survival of such a gatehouse, comparable to that of Butley Priory in Suffolk. It has a wide arch of continuous mouldings with a crocketed gable running up to the windows, with sculptures of S.George and the Dragon on the left, and David and Goliath to the right. Above the arch is Christ in a pointed oval recess, plus two figures below of St. Bartholomew and St. Philip, in niches. There are also many escutcheons with the armorials of the various benefactors of the Priory, including the arms of de Ros, Scrope, de Forz, Vaux, FitzRalph & Espec (3 cart-wheels, each with 6 spokes).
- Victoria County History, Yorkshire, Volume 3, 1974, Houses of Austin canons: Priory of Kirkham, pp. 219–222.
- English Heritage Listed Buildings text
- David Prudames (21 May 2004). "Yorkshire priory commemorates Churchill's secret visit on eve of D-Day". Culture24. Retrieved 7 December 2009.
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