The priory was founded about the year 1195 when Theobald de Valoines bequeathed his Campsey estates to his sisters, Joan and Agnes, on condition that they built a nunnery there in honour of the Blessed Virgin. In accordance with his wishes the sisters built the priory and established a community of Austin nuns. Joan herself was the first prioress and Agnes the second. The sisterhood was joined in 1347 by Maud, Countess of Ulster. Unusually for a nunnery, a small college of male chaplains was established there in 1390. The house was finally suppressed in 1536 as part of the Dissolution of the Monasteries under King Henry VIII. 
After the dissolution the land on which the nunnery stood was allocated to Sir William Willoughby after whom it passed through several hands, including Sir William Chapman, Bt, High Sheriff of Suffolk for 1767. The site of the nunnery itself is now occupied by a farmhouse.
Abbey House, a grade II* listed building standing near to the site of the nunnery, is possibly based on the living quarters of the chaplains. 
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