Watton Priory

Last updated

Watton Abbey WattonPriory.JPG
Watton Abbey

Watton Priory was a priory of the Gilbertine Order at Watton in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England. The double monastery was founded in 1150 by Eustace fitz John. [1]

Priory religious house governed by a prior or prioress

A priory is a monastery of men or women under religious vows that is headed by a prior or prioress. Priories may be houses of mendicant friars or nuns, or monasteries of monks or nuns. Houses of canons regular and canonesses regular also use this term, the alternative being "canonry".

Watton, East Riding of Yorkshire village in the United Kingdom

Watton is a village and civil parish in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England. The village is situated on the A164 road, about 6 miles (9.7 km) north of Beverley and 6 miles (9.7 km) south of Driffield.

East Riding of Yorkshire County of England

The East Riding of Yorkshire, or simply East Riding or East Yorkshire, is an area in Northern England and can refer either to the administrative county of the East Riding of Yorkshire which is a unitary authority, to the ceremonial county (Lieutenancy) of the East Riding of Yorkshire or to the easternmost of the three subdivisions (ridings) of the traditional county of Yorkshire.

The present building dates mainly from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. A house was added in the nineteenth century. It is a Grade I listed building. [2] [3] King Edward I of England imprisoned young Scottish Princess Marjorie Bruce there after her capture.

Marjorie Bruce Scottish princess

Marjorie Bruce or Marjorie de Brus was the eldest daughter of Robert the Bruce, King of Scots, by his first wife, Isabella of Mar.

The priory was dissolved in 1539 by Henry VIII. The last prior Robert Holgate (1481/1482 – 1555) was Bishop of Llandaff from 1537 and then Archbishop of York (from 1545 to 1554).

Henry VIII of England 16th-century King of England

Henry VIII was King of England from 1509 until his death in 1547. He was the second Tudor monarch, succeeding his father Henry VII. Henry is best known for his six marriages, in particular his efforts to have his first marriage annulled. His disagreement with the Pope on the question of such an annulment led Henry to initiate the English Reformation, separating the Church of England from papal authority. He appointed himself the Supreme Head of the Church of England and dissolved convents and monasteries, for which he was excommunicated. Henry is also known as "the father of the Royal Navy"; he invested heavily in the Navy, increasing its size greatly from a few to more than 50 ships.

Robert Holgate Archbishop of York

Robert Holgate was Bishop of Llandaff from 1537 and then Archbishop of York. He recognised Henry VIII as head of the Church of England.

The Nun of Watton was the protagonist of events, recorded by St Ailred of Rievaulx in De Sanctimoniali de Wattun . The nun had been admitted to the holy life as a toddler but the young woman was unsuited to the enforced celibacy of the life of a nun and became pregnant by a lay brother in the attached male community.

The Nun of Watton was the protagonist of a drama at Watton Priory in Yorkshire, recorded by St Aelred of Rievaulx in De Sanctimoniali de Wattun. In this story of twelfth-century life, the nun in question was admitted to the Gilbertine monastery in at Watton in the East Riding of Yorkshire, one of the most successful monasteries of those founded by Gilbert of Sempringham. The girl was admitted at approximately four years of age, at the request of Archbishop Henry of York. Nothing is known about her family, however, the fact that Henry took an interest in her, as well as her stature as a nun at an early age suggests that she was not from the lowest ranks of society. During this time period, the policy of the Gilbertines with respect to accepting children into religious order was less strict than in many contemporary religious orders, including the Gilbertines themselves as a later date.

De Sanctimoniali de Wattun or On the Nun of Watton is a 12th-century miracle story, describing events which took place in Yorkshire in the mid-12th century at the nunnery of Watton, East Riding of Yorkshire. It is also called A Certain Wonderful Miracle.

Celibacy State of voluntary sexual abstinence

Celibacy is the state of voluntarily being unmarried, sexually abstinent, or both, usually for religious reasons. It is often in association with the role of a religious official or devotee. In its narrow sense, the term celibacy is applied only to those for whom the unmarried state is the result of a sacred vow, act of renunciation, or religious conviction. In a wider sense, it is commonly understood to only mean abstinence from sexual activity.


Related Research Articles

Gilbertine Order Order founded by Gilbert of Sempringham

The Gilbertine Order of Canons Regular was founded around 1130 by Saint Gilbert in Sempringham, Lincolnshire, where Gilbert was the parish priest. It was the only completely English religious order and came to an end in the 16th century at the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Modest Gilbertine revivals have taken place in the late 20th and early 21st centuries on three continents.

Haverholme Priory former monastery in Lincolnshire, England

Haverholme Priory was a monastery in Lincolnshire, England. Its remains are situated 4 miles (6 km) north-east from the town of Sleaford and less than 1 mile (1.6 km) south-west from the village of Anwick.

Malton Priory Grade I listed human settlement in the United Kingdom

Malton Priory, Old Malton, North Yorkshire, England, is near to the town of Malton. It was founded as a monastery of the Gilbertine Order by Eustace fitz John, the lord of Malton Castle. Fitz John founded both Malton Priory and Watton Priory around 1150; some sources suggest that this was an act of penance for his support for the Scots in the Battle of the Standard.

Ravenstonedale Priory human settlement in United Kingdom

Ravenstonedale Priory was a Gilbertine priory in Cumbria, England. It was founded in the reign of Henry II, when Torphin, son of Robert, son of Copsus, assigned the manor and advowson of Ravenstonedale to Watton Priory in Yorkshire. It was supposed to house a master and three canons.

Nunkeeling Priory

Nunkeeling Priory was a priory of Benedictine nuns in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England founded by Agnes de Arches or de Catfoss in 1152. It was dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene and to St. Helen. The priory suffered from great poverty towards the end of the 13th century. In the early 14th century several cases of disobedience among the nuns became known, leading to disciplinary measures ordered by the archbishop of York. Nunkeeling priory was mot immediately Dissolution of the Monasteries dissolved in 1536, but even refounded in 1537. However, it was finally surrendered in 1540, with the last prioress, Christine Burgh, moving to Catterick.

Wilberfoss Priory was a priory in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England.

Bullington Priory

Bullington Priory was a priory in Bullington, Lincolnshire, England.

Catley Priory was a monastic house in Walcott, Lincolnshire, England.

Newstead-on-Ancholme Priory was a priory in Lincolnshire, England.

North Ormsby Priory human settlement in United Kingdom

North Ormsby Priory was a Gilbertine priory in North Ormsby, Lincolnshire, England.

Stixwould Priory was a priory in Lincolnshire, England.

Ellerton on Spalding Moor Priory was a Gilbertine priory that was historically in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England. The ruins stand in the village of Ellerton, in the East Riding of Yorkshire. The priory was founded no later than 1207, during the reign of King John, by Peter de Goodmanham.

Handale Priory was a priory of Cistercian nuns in Handale, North Yorkshire, England. It was founded in 1133 by William, son of Roger de Percy, and was dissolved in 1539. A fishpond survives and a farmhouse built on the site in the 18th century may incorporate part of the priory.

Rosedale Priory

Rosedale Priory was a priory in Rosedale Abbey, North Yorkshire, England that was founded c. 1150–1199. By the time the priory was suppressed in 1535, it had one prioress and eight nuns. The religious house in Rosedale was a priory and not an abbey, despite the village being given the name Rosedale Abbey, and it is unsure why this came about.

Kirklees Priory human settlement in United Kingdom

Kirklees Priory was a Cistercian nunnery whose site is in the present-day Kirklees Park, Clifton near Brighouse, West Yorkshire, England. It was originally in the ancient ecclesiastical parish of Dewsbury. The priory dedicated to the Virgin Mary and St James was founded by Reiner le Fleming, Lord of the manor of Wath upon Dearne, in 1155 during the reign of Henry II.

North Ormsby village in the United Kingdom

North Ormsby is a village and civil parish in the East Lindsey district of Lincolnshire, England. It is situated approximately 7 miles (11 km) north-west from the market town of Louth.


  1. "Forbidden love in Watton". Where I Live - Humber. BBC. 9 January 2006. Retrieved 27 August 2010.
  2. Historic England. "Watton Abbey (1161550)". National Heritage List for England . Retrieved 2 August 2013.
  3. Historic England. "Watton Abbey (1161550)". National Heritage List for England . Retrieved 26 April 2013.

Coordinates: 53°56′03″N0°26′33″W / 53.9342°N 0.4426°W / 53.9342; -0.4426 (Watton Priory)

Geographic coordinate system Coordinate system

A geographic coordinate system is a coordinate system that enables every location on Earth to be specified by a set of numbers, letters or symbols. The coordinates are often chosen such that one of the numbers represents a vertical position and two or three of the numbers represent a horizontal position; alternatively, a geographic position may be expressed in a combined three-dimensional Cartesian vector. A common choice of coordinates is latitude, longitude and elevation. To specify a location on a plane requires a map projection.