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Carisbrooke Priory

Carisbrooke Priory was an alien priory, a dependency of Lyre Abbey in Normandy. The priory was situated on rising ground on the outskirts of Carisbrooke close to Newport on the Isle of Wight.


Benedictines monks

In 1046, William FitzOsbern, kinsman of William the Conqueror, founded Lyre Abbey in Normandy. When William became King of England, FitzOsbern was given charge of the Isle of Wight, and took up residence in Carisbrooke Castle. In the wake of the Norman conquest, FitzObern became one of the great magnates of early Norman England, acquiring extensive lands there, from which he made generous donations to Lyre Abbey. The church of Carisbrooke, and other property, had been granted to the abbey of Lire, probably by William Fitz Osborne, Earl of Hereford around 1067. By the mid-12th century, Lyre Abbey had adopted the Benedictine rule.

Around 1100, Henry I of England made Richard de Redvers, also from Normandy, Lord of the Isle of Wight. His son, Baldwin de Redvers, Earl of Exeter and Lord of the Isle of Wight, gave to the Abbey of Lyre all the churches, tithes, lands, rents and benefits that he held throughout the island. Henry II's confirmation charter to Lyre Abbey specifies its possessions throughout England. The priory of Carisbrooke was founded in 1156 by Baldwin de Redvers, to collect the dues in the Isle of Wight of the parent house in Normandy. The monks of Carisbrooke served the chapels of Newport and Northwood

In 1295, when King Edward I of England was at war with France, Carisbrooke was among the alien priories by the Crown. It happened again during the reign of Edward III and being in the king's hands was granted by Richard II to the Carthusian Mount Grace Priory in Yorkshire. Restored to Prior Thomas Val Oseul by Henry IV on condition of the "apport" or customary tribute to Lire being paid instead to the Crown, and future appointments of monks being filled by Englishmen, it was seized again by Henry V and bestowed on his new charter-house at Sheen, and the monks dispersed.

Dominican nuns

Elizabeth Burrell, daughter of Peter Burrell, 1st Lord Gwydwyr and Lady Priscilla Bertie, suo jure Baroness Willoughby de Eresby, was married to John FitzGibbon, 2nd Earl of Clare, Lord Lieutenant of the City of Limerick. They lived apart, Lady Clare taking up residence at Ryde on the Isle of Wight. In 1865 she invited the Dominican Order of nuns at Stoneyhurst to move to the Isle of Wight. She provided £12000 towards the cost of a new priory at Carisbrooke on the site of the pre-Reformation priory.

In the mid-seventeenth century, Philip Howard, a Dominican friar and son of Henry Howard, 15th Earl of Arundel, founded a convent of nuns of the Second Order of Saint Dominic at Vilvoorde in Flanders. This community later relocated to Carisbrooke.

In April 1993, the recently formed Carisbrooke Priory Trust purchased the freehold of the then St Dominic's Priory, Carisbrooke on the Isle of Wight, the home of a Catholic Community of nuns since the house was first built on the medieval site in 1866.

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