Kerswell Priory

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Kerswell Priory (also Carswell) was a priory in Devon, England located to the east of Cullompton and near the small communities of Dulford and Kerswell.


The priory was founded between 1119 and 1129 and was a cell of the Cluniac monastery of Montacute in Somerset.[1][2] The land was given to the church as an endowment from Matilda Peverel,[3] the daughter of Pagan (or Payne) Peverel, a knight who fought in the First Crusade.[citation needed]

The priory was valued at 2l 1s 8d in the Taxatio Ecclesiastica in 1291-2[3] and had land in Kerswell, Monk Culm and Sampford Peverell.[4] During the 14th and 15th centuries it had problems as it was an alien priory (under the control of another religious house outside England).[2] The priory was seized at one point during a period of wars in Aquitaine but was restored in the first year of the reign of Edward III (1312).[4] In 1374 it was recorded that prior did not actually live at Kerswell.[4] By the 16th century only two monks remained at the monastery according to Leland.[2] In 1534 the Prior was Thomas Chard and it was valued at 28l 16s 4d.[4] It was dissolved in 1538[5] or 1539[2] and was given by Henry VIII to John Etherydge.[4]

The site today[edit]

Today a grade II* listed house probably occupies the site of the north, west and east ranges of the priory. The house has a late 16th-century core with 17th- and 18th-century alterations and is rendered, probably over cob and stone, with a stone slate roof. The building contains a re-sited 12th-century stone doorway and is important both for its 17th- and 18th-century features and because of the archaeological interest of the site.[5]

South of the house are the remains of the refectory, which is a late 15th- or early 16th-century building which was mostly rebuilt in the 19th and 20th centuries. Although it is now a roofless ruin, it is a grade II listed building mostly due its archaeological interest as part of the priory complex. It originally had a medieval wind-braced roof, but this was removed in 1984, and is still in storage.[6]


  1. ^ Oliver, George (1820). Historic Collections Relating to the Monasteries in Devon. Exeter. Retrieved 23 October 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Kerswell Priory". Pastscape. Retrieved 23 October 2016. 
  3. ^ a b Parker, John Henry (1865), "Exeter Diocesan Architectural Society", The Gentleman's Magazine and Historical Review , 19: 72, retrieved 29 October 2016 
  4. ^ a b c d e Dugdale, William; Caley, John; Ellis, Sir Henry; Bandinel January 1, 1849, Bulkeley (1849), Monasticon Anglicanum, 5, p. 171, retrieved 29 October 2016 
  5. ^ a b "Kerswell Priory Including Walls of Walled Garden List entry Number: 1098042". Historic England. Retrieved 23 October 2016. 
  6. ^ "Ruins of the Refectory South of the House at Kerswell Priory". Historic England. Retrieved 23 October 2016. 

Coordinates: 50°50′57″N 3°19′00″W / 50.849253°N 3.316734°W / 50.849253; -3.316734 (Kerswell Priory)