Stavordale Priory

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Stavordale Priory
Stavordale Priory.JPG
LocationCharlton Musgrove, Somerset, England
Coordinates51°05′12″N 2°22′35″W / 51.08667°N 2.37639°W / 51.08667; -2.37639Coordinates: 51°05′12″N 2°22′35″W / 51.08667°N 2.37639°W / 51.08667; -2.37639
Built13th century
Listed Building – Grade I
Designated24 March 1961[1]
Reference no.261696
Stavordale Priory is located in Somerset
Stavordale Priory
Location of Stavordale Priory in Somerset

Stavordale Priory in Charlton Musgrove, Somerset, England was built as a priory of Augustinian canons in the 13th century and was converted into a private residence after the suppression of the monastery in 1538. It has been designated as a Grade I listed building.[1]

The original priory for Augustinian canons was founded by a member of the Lovel family,[2] in 1243, probably following an endowment by Henry, Lord Lovel, who died about 1199.[3]

The list of Augustinian Priors of Stavordale Priory includes one 'John' Bodman who died there, as Prior, in 1361.[4] Closer examination of the (Latin) primary source for this reference, however, reveals that his name was not, in fact, given as the English form 'John' but Johannis, the Latin form of Johannes.[5] This appears to be the earliest historical record in England of a Johannes Bodman, and it is possible that he was a scion of the ancient, noble house of the Ritter von Bodman (also Freiherren and Grafen von und zu Bodman), who lived then and still live today at Bodman am Bodensee.[6] However the name 'Johannis' is the Latin form for 'John' as well as 'Johannes' and there is little reason to create a German link to the prior.

The bell tower is known to have existed by 1374, and the church was refitted and rebuilt around 1439. The chantry of Jesus was described as having been "recently completed" in 1526.[1] It is thought to be linked to the village's old church near the altar by a tunnel, perhaps used as a priest's escape route, some two miles in length.[2] Again there is no evidence or reason for such a 'tunnel' escape route.

It was converted around the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries, after the priory merged with Taunton in 1533.[7]

It was restored and extended by Thomas Edward Collcutt in 1905 for Mr. F.G. Sage.[7]

It is now owned by Sir Cameron Mackintosh, a British theatrical producer notable for his association with many commercially successful musicals. [8] The gardens of Stavordale Priory were featured in the 2017 book The Secret Gardeners by Victoria Summerley and photographer Hugo Rittson Thomas.[9]


Other Uses of the Name[edit]

Stavordale is the surname given to Emmeline Mowbray's mother in Charlotte Smith's novel Emmeline.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Stavordale Priory". English Heritage. Retrieved 11 June 2009.
  2. ^ a b Bush, Robin (1994). Somerset: The complete guide. Wimborne, Dorset: Dovecote Press. pp. 62. ISBN 1-874336-26-1. Cite has empty unknown parameter: |coauthors= (help)
  3. ^ Page, William (1911). "The Priory of Stavordale". Houses of Augustinian Canons. British History Online. pp. 139–141. Retrieved 11 June 2009.
  4. ^ Victoria Country History of Somerset, vol.2, pp.139-141
  5. ^ Somerset Record Society Publications, x, p.764
  6. ^ de:Bodman (Adelsgeschlecht)
  7. ^ a b "Stavordale Priory". Pastscape. English Heritage. Retrieved 11 June 2009.
  8. ^ "The Musical is Money to His Ears" New York Times 9 December 1990
  9. ^ Summerley and Rittson Thomas, 2017 pg. 195-205
  • Summerley, Victoria, and Rittson Thomas, Hugo (2017) The Secret Gardeners Francis Lincoln ISBN 9780711237636