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The Priory was established by Sir William de Clinton, 1st Earl of Huntingdon in 1331 when he endowed a College of Priests consisting of five chaplains and a warden. It was built adjacent to an earlier moated farmstead, south of his castle towards Packington village. In 1336 it was expanded to a full Priory for Augustinian Canons and was completed in 1343. It was dissolved in 1536, when the buildings and lands were granted to Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk.
Today only ruins remain with the exception of the Inner Gatehouse. This was a farmhouse in the Elizabethan period and is now a bed and breakfast establishment. Inside is a room with painted armorial shields.
The entrance to the farm is by the Outer Gatehouse. The two niches are now empty of statues. On the ends of the drip mouldings over the central window are two busts, one of a knight with his visor down and another of a monk.
In the fields around the priory can be seen traces of medieval earthworks for fish farming and water control.
The Parish Church of St Michael is of the same age as that of the Priory. The remains of a 14th-century preaching cross can be seen in the churchyard.
To the north of Maxstoke, about half way towards Shustoke, is Maxstoke Castle. It was built by Sir William de Clinton, 1st Earl of Huntingdon, in 1345. It is of a square plan with a broad moat. Additions were made by Humphrey Stafford, 1st Duke of Buckingham who acquired it in 1437 by exchanging it for other manors in Northamptonshire.
Maxstoke Hill Challenge
The Maxstoke Hill Challenge is a cycling time trial measured from the bottom of Maxstoke Hill (where the road does a 90-degree turn) to the very top of the hill (past the water works – first lay by on the left). The long-standing record held by Mr N Wiggin was beaten by Mr Jeff Allen on his return to the UK in April 2012. The record now stands at 4 minutes 37 seconds.
Media related to Maxstoke at Wikimedia Commons
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