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Somerset Historic Environment Record

43225

Site Name: Mynchin Buckland Priory, Durston
Civil Parish: Durston
Grid Ref: ST 301 280 (ST 32 NW)
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Image: Image of HER 43225 - Tracery. Photo by Somerset County Council (30 January 1984)
  HER 43225 - Tracery. Photo by Somerset County Council (30 January 1984)

Public access:

The public accessibility of this site is unknown or has not been checked. Please ask locally and do not visit without permission. [Information last updated on 21 May 2003]

Details:

Founded as a house for Augustinian Cannons in c1166, the house became a preceptory of the Knights Hospitallers and house for nuns of the order in about 1180. The Preceptory ceased to function in the C15 and the Prioress and 13 sisters surrendered the house in 1539. {1}

This somewhat unusual history implies an unorthodox and interesting building layout. Documented structures include a large church for the nuns, dedicated to St John the Baptist. Late medieval wills indicate that the former was still used for burials at this time. The high alter is mentioned in 1423, the cross alter in 1506. The Preceptor's house and lodgings lay to the N of the great or nun's church and a dovecote is also mentioned. The 1539 inventory describes the Preceptory building in detail but not the conventional buildings. Few structural remains or artifacts have been recorded from the site. The chapel, bell gable and preceptory were reputedly demolished about 1790. There are three reports of tomb slabs being found. The site lies in a shallow N-S valley. Fishponds (PRN 43224) are attached. Two medieval structural elements are present: the E part of the S wall of the barn at ST30002801 has a chamfered buttress of C14-C15 profile and a monolithic ham stone window was found some years ago at ST30132804. A rectangular feature 21m by 7m was seen as a cropmark and there are vague earthworks at ST30152789. {4}

A building survey carried out in 1998 concentrates on the Medieval barn and traces visible evidence for changes to this building. {9}

Established in 1166 as an Austin House. Austin fathers evicted and in 1199 Sisters of the Order of St John of Jerusalem were, under the orders of Henry II, brought together to form the only house of their order in Britain. Site turned to farming before dissolution, and contains several phases of farm building, including much altered barn containing C14-15 features, late C17 farm and mill buildings and walled garden, and late C18-early C19 agricultural buildings. APs suggest remains in field to south of building complex. {10}

References:

1 Description - Hugo, T. Mynchin Buckland Priory and Preceptory. Somerset Archaeology and Natural History  10 (1860), 1-112. Copy available in Local Studies collection at Somerset Heritage Centre.
2 Mention - Page, W. Victoria History of the County of Somerset.  Vol. 2 (1911), 148-150.
3 Mention - Knowles, D and Hadcock, RN. Medieval Religious Houses of England and Wales.  (1971), 150-1 and 278-9.
4 Description - Burrow, I. Mynchin Buckland priory - topographical notes. Somerset Archaeology and Natural History  129 (1985), 110-113
5 Sketch plan - Burrow, I Somerset County Council. 1:2500 topographical features. (Jan 1984) Drawing HBC 4/16/1 (microfilm). Location: HER collections
6 Sketch plan - Burrow, I Somerset County Council. 1:5 hamstone window. (Jan 1984) Drawing HBC 4/16/2 (microfilm). Location: HER collections
7 Sketch plan - Burrow, I Somerset County Council. 1:5 slate grave cover. (Jan 1984) Drawing HBC 4/16/3 (microfilm). Location: HER collections
8 Detailed records - Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division record card. Record ID: ST 32 NW 3 (1965) Location: HER files under PRN 43224. HER digital source: 2184.
9 Survey report - Weager, C. An Archaeological Survey of the Medieval Barn at the Priory and Preceptory at Minchyn Buckland, Durston, Somerset.  (1998) Unpublished A-level project report. Location: HER files. HER digital source: 36316.
10 Description - Weager, C. The Priory and Preceptory of Minchin Buckland: An Overview.  (1998) Unpublished A-level report. Location: HER files. HER digital source: 15694.

Record created in January 1986

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