List of monastic houses in County Durham

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List of monastic houses in County Durham is located in County Durham
Barnard Castle Friary (poss. site)
Barnard Castle Friary (poss. site)
Baxterwood Priory (traditional site)
Baxterwood Priory (traditional site)
Bradbury Cell (site)
Bradbury Cell (site)
Durham Cathedral Priory
Durham Cathedral Priory
St Antony's Priory, Durham
St Antony's Priory, Durham
Ebchester Nunnery (poss. site)
Ebchester Nunnery (poss. site)
Egglestone Abbey
Egglestone Abbey
Finchale Priory
Finchale Priory
Hartlepool — St Hilda's Monastery
Hartlepool — St Hilda's Monastery
Hartlepool Greyfriars
Hartlepool Greyfriars
Haswell Grange
Haswell Grange
Neasham Priory
Neasham Priory
Locations of monastic houses in County Durham

The following is a list of monastic houses in County Durham, England.

In this article alien houses are included, as are smaller establishments such as cells and notable monastic granges (particularly those with resident monks), and also camerae of the military orders of monks (Templars and Hospitallers). The numerous monastic hospitals per se are not included here unless at some time the foundation had, or was purported to have the status or function of an abbey, priory, friary or preceptory/commandery.

The name of the county is given where there is reference to an establishment in another county. Where the county has changed since the foundation's dissolution the modern county is given in parentheses, and in instances where the referenced foundation ceased to exist before the unification of England, the kingdom is given, followed by the modern county in parentheses.

The geographical co-ordinates provided are sourced from the details provided by English Heritage Pastscape [1] and Ordnance Survey publications.

A Monastic Glossary follows the listing, which provides links to articles on the particular monastic orders as well as other terms which appear in the listing.

Abbreviations and key[edit]

The sites listed are ruins unless indicated thus:
* indicates current monastic function
+ indicates current non-monastic ecclesiastic function (including remains incorporated into later structure)
^ indicates current non-ecclesiastic function (including remains incorporated into later structure) or redundant intact structure
$ indicates remains limited to earthworks etc.
# indicates no identifiable trace of the monastic foundation remains
~ indicates exact site of monastic foundation unknown
identification ambiguous or confused

Locations with names in italics indicate probable duplication (misidentification with another location)
or non-existent foundations (either erroneous reference or proposed foundation never implemented)
or ecclesiastical establishments with a monastic appellation but lacking monastic connection.

Trusteeship denoted as follows:
EH English Heritage
LT Landmark Trust
NT National Trust

Alphabetical listing of establishments[edit]

Foundation Image Communities & Provenance Formal Name or Dedication
& Alternative Names
Online References & Location
Barnard Castle Friary (?) Augustinian Friars (under the Limit of York)
founded 1381: licensed by Neville, Archbishop of York, land granted by Thomas Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick; possibly not established, but if so failed before 1387?

54°32′25″N 1°55′28″W / 54.5404026°N 1.9243187°W / 54.5404026; -1.9243187 (Barnard Castle Friary (poss. site)) (possible)
Baxterwood Priory Augustinian Canons Regular — possibly from Gisborough, Yorkshire via Haswell
founded 1180;
transferred from Haswell after 1180 (possibly before Haswell was built);
dissolved 1196; lands appropriated by Finchale Priory
Priory Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Baxterwood
Bactanesford Priory

54°46′35″N 1°36′15″W / 54.7763066°N 1.604138°W / 54.7763066; -1.604138 (Baxterwood Priory (traditional site))
Bradbury Cell Benedictine monks
chapel and cell dependent on Nun Monkton, Yorkshire
founded 12th century

54°39′19″N 1°31′16″W / 54.6551581°N 1.5209815°W / 54.6551581; -1.5209815 (Bradbury Cell (site))
Clare Abbey, Darlington Franciscan nuns — from Scorton Hall
founded 1857, property granted by Sir Caranby Haggerston;
transferred to Herefordshire, amalgamating with the house at Much Birch;
Hospitaller Order of Saint John of God
The Abbey Church of Saint Clare, Darlington [5]

Durham Cathedral Priory + Southx.jpg secular canons
episcopal diocesan cathedral
founded 997 (995); extant;
founded 995 (997), built by Bishop Aldhun;
Benedictine monks
founded 1093 (or 1083) by Bishop William of St Carileph, who expelled the seculars;
dissolved 1539
The Abbey Church of Saint Mary and Saint Cuthbert at Durham

The Cathedral Church of Christ and Blessed Mary the Virgin, Durham

54°46′24″N 1°34′33″W / 54.7732882°N 1.5759587°W / 54.7732882; -1.5759587 (Durham Cathedral Priory)
Durham Greyfriars Franciscan Friars Minor, Conventual (under the Custody of Newcastle)
founded before 1239;
dissolved before 1240(?), friars apparently settled at the chapel of St Mary, but on meeting with opposition transferred to Hartlepool
Hartlepool Friary [9]

Durham — St Anthony's Priory * Minoresses
founded at the former vicarage of St Nicholas Parish Church;
Society of the Sacred Mission;
St Antony's Priory, Durham

54°46′42″N 1°34′19″W / 54.778257°N 1.572027°W / 54.778257; -1.572027 (St Antony's Priory, Durham)
Ebchester Nunnery nuns
founded before 660 by St Ebba (purportedly daughter of King Ethelfrid);
destroyed in raids by the Danes c.875;
reference to hermitage or chapel mid-12th century and 1241 (Chapel of St Mary, Yareshale (Yareshaugh)) possibly on site, private chapel of Bishops of Durham before mid-15th century
St Ebbas Nunnery [10][11]

54°53′23″N 1°50′45″W / 54.8896722°N 1.8457353°W / 54.8896722; -1.8457353 (Ebchester Nunnery (possible site)) (possible)
Egglestone Abbey Egglestone Abbey 1 63bb6379.jpg Premonstratensian Canons — from Easby, Yorkshire
daughter of Easby;
founded between c.1190 and c.1195, probably by Ralph Moulton: land granted by Ralph de Moulton, sub-tenant of Ralph de Lenham, who ratified the grant 1198;
refounded 1537;
dissolved 5 January 1540; granted to Robert Shelley 1548/9;
converted into a house 1548, then labourers cottages; (EH)
The Blessed Virgin Mary and St John the Baptist
Egleston Abbey

54°31′53″N 1°54′19″W / 54.5314762°N 1.9051623°W / 54.5314762; -1.9051623 (Egglestone Abbey)
Finchale Priory Fichale.jpg Benedictine monks
cell dependent on Durham;
1115 (or 1128) by Ranulf, Bishop of Durham who permitted St Godrick to establish his hermitage before 1170;
becoming priory dependent on Durham 1196;
confirmed to Durham by Hugh Pudsey, Bishop of Durham;
dissolved 1538; granted to the Dean and Chapter of Durham 1534/5; (EH)
The Blessed Virgin Mary and St John the Baptist

St John the Baptist and St Godric

54°49′05″N 1°32′25″W / 54.818137°N 1.540213°W / 54.818137; -1.540213 (Finchale Priory)
Gateshead House monks
founded before 653;
apparently abandoned when monks left for Ireland

Hartlepool — St Hilda's Monastery HartlepoolStHildasChurch.jpg probably monks and nuns
founded c.640 by Hieu, an Irishwoman (possibly St Bega) placed in charge by St Aidan
destroyed 800?
St Hilda's Monastery [16][17]

54°41′44″N 1°10′51″W / 54.6955677°N 1.1807352°W / 54.6955677; -1.1807352 (Hartlepool — St Hilda's Monastery)
Hartlepool Greyfriars HartlepoolFriarage.jpg Franciscan Friars Minor, Conventual (under the Custody of Newcastle)
transferred from Durham, before 1240;
dissolved 1538

54°41′48″N 1°10′47″W / 54.6967225°N 1.1797898°W / 54.6967225; -1.1797898 (Hartlepool Greyfriars)
Hartlepool Friary? Dominican Friars
probably copyist's error ref. to Franciscan Friary (see immediately above)

Haswell Grange Benedictine monks
endowment — possibly from Gisborough, Yorkshire;
transferred to Baxterwood after 1180, probably prior to any buildings being erected;
becoming a grange under Finchale

54°47′16″N 1°27′20″W / 54.7878194°N 1.4554739°W / 54.7878194; -1.4554739 (Haswell Grange)
Jarrow Priory Historical county location. See entry under List of monastic houses in Tyne and Wear
Jarrow Friary? Historical county location. See entry under List of monastic houses in Tyne and Wear
Neasham Priory Benedictine nuns
founded before 1156 (before 1163) purportedly by Lord Dacres;
dissolved 1539-40; granted to James Lawson 1540/1;
house named 'Neasham Abbey' built near site 19th century
St Mary
Nesham Priory;
Nesseham Priory

54°29′06″N 1°30′13″W / 54.4851107°N 1.5036356°W / 54.4851107; -1.5036356 (Neasham Priory)
Norton Monastery? St Mary's Church incorporates remnants of a church built c.1000 — no reference of pre-Conquest community, but size suggests more than a parochial church; granted to St Cuthbert's, then to Chester-le-Street Cathedral

Owton Priory Gilbertine Canons
charter confirming founded 1204 by Alan de Wilton, probably never established (though possibly a grange at Owton Grange nr Brierton)
St Mary
Oveton in Hartness Priory;Owton in Harness Priory

Samford Priory? Benedictine monks
probably confused for Stamford Priory, Lincolnshire
[note 1]

South Shields Monastery Saxon monks and nuns
founded 648 by St Aidan for St Hilda;
Benedictine? nuns
refounded? c.686;
destroyed ? 865-75
Wherhale Monastery?;
Wyrale Monastery

Wearmouth Abbey Historical county location. See entry under List of monastic houses in Tyne and Wear


edit this box

Map link to lists of monastic houses in England by county[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 'Samford Priory' - given by Cardinal F. A. Gasquet, English Monastic Life, (1924 ed), pp.272 & 302: 'List of English Religious Houses' (possibly from MacKenzie E. C. Walcott, Church Work and Life in English Minsters (1879), Vol 2: 'English Student's Monasticon', p. 198)


  1. ^ Pastscape — Detailed Result: MONUMENT NO. 19883
  2. ^ "Pastscape — Detailed Result: BAXTERWOOD PRIORY". Retrieved 6 April 2010. 
  3. ^ House of Austin canons — Priory of Baxterwood | A History of the County of Durham: Volume 2 (pp. 109)
  4. ^ "Detailed Result: MONUMENT NO. 25773". Pastscape. Retrieved 6 April 2010. 
  5. ^ Saint John of God Hospitaller Services - News Archive
  6. ^ "Durham Cathedral". Durham Cathedral. 2 April 2010. Retrieved 6 April 2010. 
  7. ^ Pastscape — Detailed Result: MONUMENT NO. 113107
  8. ^ "Houses of Benedictine monks — Priory of St Cuthbert, Durham (later Durham cathedral) | British History Online". 22 June 2003. Retrieved 6 April 2010. 
  9. ^ a b Friaries — Franciscan (Hartlepool & Durham) | A History of the County of Durham: Volume 2 (pp. 109-110)
  10. ^ Pastscape — Detailed Result: ST EBBAS NUNNERY
  11. ^ Saxon Houses — including Wearmouth and Jarrow | A History of the County of Durham: Volume 2 (pp. 79-85)
  12. ^ "Pastscape — Detailed Result: EGGLESTONE ABBEY". Retrieved 6 April 2010. 
  13. ^ Pastscape — Detailed Result: FINCHALE PRIORY
  14. ^ Houses of Benedictine monks — Priory of St John Baptist & St Godric, Finchale | A History of the County of Durham: Volume 2 (pp. 103-105)
  15. ^ Saxon Houses — including Wearmouth and Jarrow | A History of the County of Durham: Volume 2 (pp. 79-85)
  16. ^ Pastscape — Detailed Result: ST HILDAS MONASTERY
  17. ^ Saxon Houses — including Wearmouth and Jarrow | A History of the County of Durham: Volume 2 (pp. 79-85)
  18. ^ Pastscape — Detailed Result: HARTLEPOOL GREYFRIARS
  19. ^ Friaries — Friars Preachers (Hartlepool & Jarrow) | A History of the County of Durham: Volume 2 (pp. 110-111)
  20. ^ "Pastscape — Detailed Result: HASWELL GRANGE". Retrieved 6 April 2010. 
  21. ^ "Pastscape — Detailed Result: NEASHAM PRIORY". Retrieved 6 April 2010. 
  22. ^ House of Benedictine nuns — Priory of St Mary, Neasham | A History of the County of Durham: Volume 2 (pp. 106-108)
  23. ^ History Online — Saxon Houses, including Wearmouth and Jarrow — Victoria History Online: A History of the County of Durham: Volume 2 (pp.79-85)
  • Binns, Alison (1989) Studies in the History of Medieval Religion 1: Dedications of Monastic Houses in England and Wales 1066-1216, Boydell
  • Cobbett, William (1868) List of Abbeys, Priories, Nunneries, Hospitals, And Other Religious Foundations in England and Wales and in Ireland, Confiscated, Seized On, or Alienated by the Protestant "Reformation" Sovereigns and Parliaments
  • Knowles, David & Hadcock, R. Neville (1971) Medieval Religious Houses England & Wales. Longman
  • Morris, Richard (1979) Cathedrals and Abbeys of England and Wales, J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd.
  • Thorold, Henry (1986) Collins Guide to Cathedrals, Abbeys and Priories of England and Wales, Collins
  • Thorold, Henry (1993) Collins Guide to the Ruined Abbeys of England, Wales and Scotland, Collins
  • Wright, Geoffrey N., (2004) Discovering Abbeys and Priories, Shire Publications Ltd.
  • English Cathedrals and Abbeys, Illustrated, Odhams Press Ltd.
  • Map of Monastic Britain, South Sheet, Ordnance Survey, 2nd edition, 1954