List entry

List entry Summary

This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Up Holland Benedictine priory

List entry Number: 1013649

Location

The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County District District Type Parish
LancashireWest LancashireDistrict AuthorityUp Holland

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 18-Mar-1996

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 27661

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

From the time of St Augustine's mission to re-establish Christianity in AD 597 to the reign of Henry VIII, monasticism formed an important facet of both religious and secular life in the British Isles. Settlements of religious communities, including monasteries, were built to house communities of monks, canons (priests), and sometimes lay-brothers, living a common life of religious observance under some form of systematic discipline. It is estimated from documentary evidence that over 700 monasteries were founded in England. These ranged in size from major communities with several hundred members to tiny establishments with a handful of brethren. They belonged to a wide variety of different religious orders, each with its own philosophy. As a result, they vary considerably in the detail of their appearance and layout, although all possess the basic elements of church, domestic accommodation for the community, and work buildings. Monasteries were inextricably woven into the fabric of medieval society, acting not only as centres of worship, learning and charity, but also, because of the vast landholdings of some orders, as centres of immense wealth and political influence. They were established in all parts of England, some in towns and others in the remotest of areas. Many monasteries acted as the foci of wide networks including parish churches, almshouses, hospitals, farming estates and tenant villages. Benedictine monasticism had its roots in the rule written about AD 530 by St Benedict of Nursia for his own abbey at Monte Cassino. Benedict had not intended to establish an order of monasteries and wider adoption of his rule came only gradually. The first real attempt to form a Benedictine order came only in 1216. The Benedictine monks, who wore dark robes, came to be known as `black monks'. These dark robes distinguished them from Cistercian monks who became known as `white monks' on account of their light coloured robes. Over 150 Benedictine monasteries were founded in England. As members of a highly successful order many Benedictine houses became extremely wealthy and influential. Their wealth can frequently be seen in the scale and flamboyance of their buildings. Benedictine monasteries made a major contribution to many facets of medieval life and all examples exhibiting significant surviving archaeological remains are worthy of protection.

The term college is used to describe a variety of different types of establishments whose communities of secular clergy shared a degree of common life less strictly controlled than within a monastic order. Although some colleges date to as early as the tenth century, the majority were founded in the 14th or 15th centuries. Colleges of the prebendal or portional type were set up as secular chapters, both as an alternative to the structure of contemporary monastic houses and to provide positions for clerics whose services the monastic establishment wished to reward. Some barons followed suit by setting up colleges within their castles, while others were founded by the Crown for the canons who served royal free chapels. After 1300 chantry colleges became more common. These were establishments of priests, financed from a common fund, whose prime concern was to offer masses for the soul of the patron and the patron's family. They may also have housed bedesmen (deserving poor and elderly) and provided an educational facility which in some cases eventually came to dominate their other activities. It is known that approximately 300 separate colleges existed during the medieval period. In view of the importance of colleges in contributing to our understanding of ecclesiastical history, and given the rarity of known surviving examples, all identified colleges which retain surviving archaeological remains are considered to be nationally important. Despite demolition of the south and west ranges of the cloister, the remains of Up Holland Benedictine priory include upstanding medieval fabric and architectural features associated with the dorter which formed the eastern range of the cloister. Further buried remains of the original medieval buildings will exist to the west of both the church and the upstanding medieval dorter. The priory was a very late foundation and probably took over at least some of the buildings of the earlier college. As such the layout of the priory and form of buildings probably reflects that of the earlier foundation to some degree. This is unusual, as the majority of earlier priories were entirely new creations with purpose-built buildings. Detailed examination of the site would provide information on the earlier foundation and how it was transformed into the priory.

History

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Details

The monument includes the identified upstanding ruins and remains of Up Holland Benedictine priory which is located close to the centre of Up Holland village. The priory was a late foundation and took over the site and buildings of an earlier religious college. The present Church of St Thomas the Martyr originated in the Middle Ages and functioned as the priory church. The main upstanding ruins lie to the south of the church and include parts of the dorter range or monks' dormitory. The priory is thought to have occupied a large block of land in this area and its extent is likely to have been defined by a permanent wall. Within this area a range of buildings providing domestic accommodation and space for religious activities would have existed. The monument includes only those remains which have been confirmed to survive; this represents only a small area of the medieval priory and further remains are likely to survive outside the area of the proposed scheduling. A small chapelry was founded at Up Holland by Sir Robert de Holand in 1307 and dedicated to St Thomas. Three years later Sir Robert began work extending the chapel into a collegiate chapel for 13 canons regular. These secular clergy lived as a community and devoted their lives to worship, prayer, teaching and scholarship. The head of this college was William le Gode, the Dean of Up Holland. However, by 1318 the college had been deserted and in the following year Sir Robert, on the advice of Bishop Walter de Langdon of Lichfield, changed the foundation of the church to a priory of Benedictine monks, the last foundation of this Order in the country. The first prior, Thomas of Doncaster, arrived from the Priory of St John at Pontefract to take charge of the community, and work on the new and more extensive buildings began, eventually ceasing about 1450. In 1530 complaints were made to the Bishop of Lichfield that the monks no longer kept to their Rule of life and that the monastic buildings had been allowed to fall into disrepair. It emerged that five monks were being looked after by no less than eight servants and 13 hands. Thus when Henry VIII ordered the dissolution of smaller monasteries including Up Holland in 1536 there was little local protest. The priory and its lands were sold to John Holcroft and then to Sir Robert Worsley. The priory became a chapel of ease connected with the parish church in Wigan and the chancel of the priory church became the nave of the present church. At an unrecorded date the south and west ranges of the cloister were demolished. In 1882-6 the present chancel was added to the east end of the nave and a crypt built below. As the church remains in ecclesiastical use it is not included in the scheduling although the ground beneath it, which will retain buried remains associated with the medieval priory church, are included. The church is Listed Grade I. The dorter was a two-storey construction of rough sandstone of which only the west wall survives to anything like its original height. It formed the east range of the cloister, i.e. an arrangement of domestic buildings around a central courtyard or garden which was the innermost enclosure of the priory precinct, and is the only claustral building yet to have been identified. It measures c.21m long, and has a row of seven windows in the upper storey. There is a doorway towards the northern end of the building but, due to deliberate build up of the ground level to the west which has covered much of the cloister area, only the upper part of this doorway is visible from the outside. The dorter is now entered from a doorway in the south wall. Internally the building measures c.19m by 8m. Part of the dorter's east wall now forms the outer wall of the adjacent Priory House, a building which has been said to lie on the site of and contain remains of the medieval prior's house. At present the remains of the dorter walling are the only medieval remains to be confirmed in the present building. Where the dorter fabric forms part of the walling of the occupied house it is not included in the scheduling but is protected by the Grade II Listing of Priory House. Within the northern end of the dorter a 17th/18th century bakehouse and privy were constructed. The dorter was connected to the south west bay of the nave of St Thomas's Church by a covered walkway, since demolished, but the Monk's Door which gave access to this walkway still exists in the nave of the church. Above this door there was a first floor access from the church to the dorter and the location of the original doorway still exists in the fabric of the church, although it has since been converted into a window. A number of features are excluded from the scheduling. These include St Thomas's Church and its associated structures to the south of the church; the walls and roof of the 17th/18th century former bakehouse and privy; the outer wall of Priory House where it forms part of the dorter walling, all modern walls and railings; all post-medieval graves and gravestones; all paths, flagged and tarmacked areas; and the posts for a metal barrier at the entrance to a car park; the ground beneath all these features, however, is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Selected Sources

  1. Unpublished Title  Reference - Title: Up Holland Church - Date: 1994 - Type: GUIDE BOOK
  2. Unpublished Title  Reference - Title: Up Holland Church - Date: 1994 - Page References: 1-17 - Type: GUIDE BOOK
  3. Other  Reference - Author: Coney, A - Date: 1995 - Type: MENTION - Description: Letter to Robinson,K. MPPA
  4. Other  Reference - Author: DOE - Title: List of Buildings of Historic & Architectural Interest - Page References: 30 - Type: LIST
  5. Other  Reference - Author: Lancs SMR - Title: Up Holland Priory - Date: 1994 - Type: SMR - Description: SMR No. 785
  6. Other  Reference - Author: Woods,J. (Site surveyor) - Date: 1995 - Type: PERS COMM - Description: To Robinson,K. MPPA

National Grid Reference: SD 52300 05070

Map


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This copy shows the entry on 17-Sep-2014 at 10:34:56.