Isleham Priory Church

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Isleham Priory Church.

Isleham Priory Church located in Isleham, Cambridgeshire is a Norman church, built in ca 1090. Despite being converted into a barn, it remains in a largely unaltered state.

The Church of St Margaret of Antioch was given to the Benedictine Abbey of St Jacut-de-la-Mer in Brittany, France around 1100 by Count Alan of Brittany or his successors and the Benedictines founded the alien priory on the site. In 1254 the monks moved to the sister cell at Linton, although the site seems to have been used as a priory after that time.[1]

Due to the tensions of a Frenchowned monastery in England during the hundred years war, the lands were seized by the King in 1414 and granted to the Master and Fellows of Pembroke College, Cambridge in 1440.[2] From either this point, or following the reformation, and well into the 1960s, the conventual church was used as a barn, more latterly a store for both tractors and straw.

In 1944 Pembroke College placed it in the guardianship of the Ministry of Works. It is a Grade 1 listed building[3] and now in the care of English Heritage. The foundations of the conventual buildings and the earthworks in the surrounding land are a scheduled ancient monument.[1]

Locally this is known as the Priory. There are said to be tunnels connecting this with the Church; these have now been blocked up for many years. There are also tunnels linking the Church to an old Grade II listed shop in the centre of the village, which is now not used.

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Coordinates: 52°20′32″N 0°24′37″E / 52.342167°N 0.410396°E / 52.342167; 0.410396