St Leonard’s Priory

1128 Reviews

Star Travel Rating

3/5

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Things to do

Location

Date of travel

March, 2019

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Travelled with

On your own

Reasons for trip

To be honest, there isn’t a lot to see here, but it is worth finding as it is one of the best surviving examples of Norman architecture in Stamford. The ruins of the priory are a few minutes walk from the centre of Stamford. It is a lovely site surrounded by grass and trees near the River Welland.

This may have been the site of a Saxon monastery founded by St Wilfrid in 658AD, which was destroyed during Danish raids. It was rebuilt in 1082 by the monks of Durham, to administer their southern properties. It was a small foundation with few monks. Its income came from mixed farming and its monks always had problems making ends meet.

The priory was dissolved in 1538 and its lands were granted to Sir William Cecil. The site became a farm and the church buildings were converted into a barn. Much of the rest of the priory buildings were used for building stone and nothing is now left of them, not even bumps in the ground. By 1833 the building had deteriorated and west front had collapsed and had to be rebuilt.

All that remains of the priory is the Norman nave, which formed one wall of the cloisters. On the opposite side is an arcade of round pillars and arches which would have opened into the north aisle. One of the Norman clerestory windows can still be seen above one of the arches.

The priory is in the care of Stamford Civic Society. The grounds are open but the building is not normally open apart from Heritage Open days.

There is no parking at the priory although Morrisons Car park is a few minutes walks away. The post code is PE9 2EU and the grid reference is TF 039074

ESW

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