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List of monastic houses in Devon facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts

The following is a list of the monastic houses in Devon, England.

Alien houses are included, as are smaller establishments such as cells and notable monastic granges (particularly those with resident monks), and also camerae of the military orders of monks (Knights Templars and Knights Hospitaller). Monastic hospitals are included where they had the status or function of an abbey, priory, friary or preceptor/commandery.

Abbreviations and key
Status of remains
Symbol Status
None Ruins
* Current monastic function
+ Current non-monastic ecclesiastic function (including remains incorporated into later structure)
^ Current non-ecclesiastic function (including remains incorporated into later structure) or redundant intact structure
$ Remains limited to earthworks etc.
# No identifiable trace of the monastic foundation remains
~ Exact site of monastic foundation unknown
Identification ambiguous or confused

Locations with names in italics indicate possible duplication (misidentification with another location) or non-existent foundations (either erroneous reference or proposed foundation never implemented) or ecclesiastical establishments with a monastic name but lacking actual monastic connection.

EH English Heritage
LT Landmark Trust
NT National Trust

Foundation Image Communities & Provenance Formal Name or Dedication
& Alternative Names
Online References & Location
Allerton Cell Benedictine hermits
cell dependent on Tavistock

50°26′31″N 3°44′42″W / 50.4420133°N 3.7449566°W / 50.4420133; -3.7449566 (Allerton Cell)
Axminster Monastery ~ Saxon monks or secular canons collegiate
founded before 757 when Cyneheard the atheling was interred in the minster;
secular canons collegiate
founded c.936 by King Athelstan;
made dependent on York, Yorkshire 1060 by Edward the Confessor;
dissolved 1535;
collegiate and parochial church of St Mary possibly built on site during the Norman period

50°46′54″N 2°59′58″W / 50.7817388°N 2.9993668°W / 50.7817388; -2.9993668 (Axminster Monastery (possible site)) (possible)
Axmouth Priory Benedictine monks
alien house: possible monastic grange, dependent on Montebourg;
founded before 1387 (during the reign of Henry II) by Richard de Rivers, Earl of Devonshire;
dissolved 1414;
granted to Walter Erle (Earl) 1552

50°42′50″N 3°02′58″W / 50.7138945°N 3.0494463°W / 50.7138945; -3.0494463 (Axmouth Priory (site))
Barnstaple Priory Cluniac monks
alien house: daughter house of St-Martin-des-Champs, Paris
founded c.1107 (before 1199) by Johel of Totness;
became denizen: independent from 1403;
dissolved 1535; granted to William, Lord Howard 1537/8
The Priory Church of Saint Mary Magdalene, Barnstaple

The Church of Saint Mary the Virgin

51°05′19″N 4°03′45″W / 51.0884729°N 4.0624362°W / 51.0884729; -4.0624362 (Barnstaple Priory)
Barnstaple Austin Friary (?) Augustinian Friars
licensed 1348 and 1353 — apparently never established due to objection by the prior of the Cluniac house
Burlescombe Priory Augustinian Canons Regular
recorded in the time of Richard I, (probably Canonsleigh Priory, in the parish of Burlescombe)
possibly Canonsleigh
Bodmiscombe Preceptory Knights Hospitaller
founded after 1200(?) (possibly during the reign of Henry III);
dissolved before 15th century?;
apparently absorbed by Buckland 14th/15th century
Bothemescomb Preceptory

50°52′50″N 3°16′06″W / 50.8804798°N 3.2683682°W / 50.8804798; -3.2683682 (Bodmiscombe Preceptory)
Braunton Monastery traditionally site of monastery
purportedly founded 5th century by St Branock (Brynach of Nevern)
Brightley Priory # Cistercian monks — from Waverley, Surrey
founded 3 May 1136 (or 1132, 1133 or 1138) by Richard fitz Baldwin de Brioniis, Lord of Okehampton and Sheriff of Devon;
abandoned 1141; transferred to Forde, Dorset;
site now occupied by Brightley Farm, where a building is possibly a monastic chapel

50°45′31″N 3°59′18″W / 50.7584976°N 3.9882731°W / 50.7584976; -3.9882731 (Brightley Priory (approx.)) (approx)
Buckfast Monastery Buckfast Abbey, Buckfastleigh, Devon 8.JPG Benedictine monks
founded 1018 by Aylward, Duk;
Buckfast Abbey (see immediately below) built on site

50°29′35″N 3°46′32″W / 50.49295°N 3.775609°W / 50.49295; -3.775609 (Buckfast monastery)
Buckfast Abbey |Savignac monks — from Savigny
founded 27 April 1136 by Ethelwerd, son of William Pomerei;
built on site of Benedictine monastery (see immediately above);
Cistercian monks
orders merged 17 September 1147;
dissolved 1539; granted to Sir Thomas Dennys 1539/40;
became ruinous
Benedictine monks
priory founded 1882, rebuilt 1884 to 1938 (church 1906 to 1938);
raised to abbey status 1902;
affiliated to the English Congregation 1960; extant
The Abbey Church of Our Lady, Buckfast
Buckfastre Abbey

50°29′35″N 3°46′32″W / 50.49295°N 3.775609°W / 50.49295; -3.775609 (Buckfast Abbey)
Buckland Abbey BucklandAbbey.JPG Cistercian monks — from Quarr, Isle of Wight
founded 1278 by Amicia, Countess of Devonshire;
dissolved 1539; granted to Sir Richard Greynfeld (Grenville) 1541/2; converted into a mansion named the 'Cider House' by 1576; sold to Sir Francis Drake 1581; remained with that family to 1946; house granted to NT 1949 currently principally in use as a museum; (NT)
The Abbey Church of Saint Benedict, Buckland

50°28′52″N 4°08′01″W / 50.481188°N 4.133569°W / 50.481188; -4.133569 (Buckland Abbey)
Canonsleigh Abbey ^ Canonsleigh Abbey (Panoramic).JPG On site of Leigh, in the parish of Burlescombe; Augustinian Canons Regular — from Plympton?
founded c.1161-1173 by Walter II de Claville, (a descendant of the Domesday Book tenant Walter I de Claville), lord of the manor of Burlescombe;
dissolved before 1285;
Augustinian Canonesses
founded before 1285 by Maud, Countess of Devon;
dissolved 1539;
remains now incorporated into farm buildings
The Priory Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint John the Evangelist, Leigh (1161–1285)

The Priory Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint John the Evangelist and Saint Etheldreda, Leigh (1285–1539)
Leigh Abbey;
Canon's Leigh;
Burlescombe Priory? (see above)

50°56′53″N 3°19′46″W / 50.948056°N 3.329444°W / 50.948056; -3.329444 (Canonsleigh Abbey)
Chudleigh Abbey Brigittine nuns
transferred from Spettisbury, Dorset 1887;
transferred to Marley House, Rattery (now Syon Abbey) 1925
The Abbey Church of Saint Bridget of Syon, Chudleigh

Churchill Monastery uncertain order and foundation

51°09′11″N 4°00′03″W / 51.152971°N 4.000740°W / 51.152971; -4.000740 (Churchill Monastery (approx.)) (approx)
Cornworthy Priory CornworthyPriory.JPG Augustinian Canonesses
founded 1205/1238 by the Edgecomb family;
dissolved 1539; granted to Edward Harris and John Williams 1560
Court Prior

50°23′19″N 3°39′31″W / 50.3884826°N 3.6586618°W / 50.3884826; -3.6586618 (Cornworthy Priory)
Cove Knights Hospitaller
member of Bodmiscombe Preceptory
Cowick Priory # Benedictine monks
alien house: cell dependent on Bec-Hellouin;
founded 1144: granted as cell to Bec-Hellouin by William Fitz-Baldwin;
became denizen: granted to Eton College 1451;
granted to Tavistock after 1464;
dissolved 1538
The Priory Church of Saint Andrew, Cowick
Cowick Priory

50°43′15″N 3°32′30″W / 50.7208284°N 3.541562°W / 50.7208284; -3.541562 (Cowick Priory (site))
Crediton Monastery Holycrosscrediton.jpg monks
founded 739;
secular episcopal diocesan cathedral
founded 909: see reputedly transferred from Bishops Tawton;
see transferred to Exeter 1050;
secular collegiate
refounded 1050;
dissolved 1548
St Gregory (possibly)

50°47′23″N 3°39′08″W / 50.7896597°N 3.6522889°W / 50.7896597; -3.6522889 (Crediton Monastery)
Dartmouth Austin Friars Augustinian Friars (under the Limit of Oxford)
(founded at Clifton in Dartmouth 1331);
dissolved before 1348;
church of St Petrox built on site 16th century

50°20′32″N 3°33′58″W / 50.3422629°N 3.5660881°W / 50.3422629; -3.5660881 (Dartmouth Friary (possible site)) (possible)
Dartmouth Monastery monks? uncertain order and foundation
chapel of St Patrick in the Castle annexed as a cell to a "great abbey"
Denbury Priory Benedictine monks
dependent on Tavistock;
founded 1086;
dissolved 1539;
site now on Wrenwell Farm
Denbury Cell;
Denbury Grange

50°30′00″N 3°39′55″W / 50.4999332°N 3.6651742°W / 50.4999332; -3.6651742 (Denbury Priory)
Dunkeswell Abbey Dunkeswell Abbey Gate - - 3003574.jpg Cistercian monks
daughter house of Forde, Dorset;
founded 16 November 1201 by William Briwere;
dissolved 1539; granted to John, Lord Russell 1534/5;
site in multiple ownership, with the Holy Trinity parish chapel built on site 1842

50°51′48″N 3°13′17″W / 50.8633606°N 3.2213974°W / 50.8633606; -3.2213974 (Dunkeswell Abbey)
Exeter Cathedral Priory + Exeter Cathedral 2923rw.jpg founded ?before c.690;
Benedictine? monks 932 (see immediately below)
secular canons
founded 1050;
episcopal diocesan cathedral
founded 1050: see transferred from Crediton; extant
The Priory Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Peter

The Cathedral Church of Saint Peter in Exeter

50°43′21″N 3°31′47″W / 50.722476°N 3.529796°W / 50.722476; -3.529796 (Exeter Cathedral Priory)
Exeter Monastery Saxon
founded 868 by King Etheldred

50°43′21″N 3°31′44″W / 50.7224517°N 3.5289824°W / 50.7224517; -3.5289824 (Exeter monasteries (site))
Exeter Monastery Benedictine monks
founded 932 by King Athelstan;
monks repeatedly fled through Danish raids but recalled by Canute 1019
Exeter Nunnery (?) Augustinian Canonesses
supposedly founded c.968;
purportedly rebuilt as the Deanery 15th century
Later sources deny its existence.

50°43′20″N 3°31′52″W / 50.7221851°N 3.5310262°W / 50.7221851; -3.5310262 (Exeter Nunnery (site))
Exeter Priory (?) Carthusian monks
licence granted to Richard Stapleton 1331/2 to build and endow a monastery — apparently never established
Exeter Blackfriars # Dominican Friars (under the Visitation of London)
founded before 1232;
dissolved 1538;
house named 'Bedford House' built on site, demolished 1773
Exeter Blackfriars

50°43′26″N 3°31′42″W / 50.7237626°N 3.5282314°W / 50.7237626; -3.5282314 (Exeter Black Friary (site))
Exeter Greyfriars Franciscan Friars (under the Custody of Bristol)
founded before 1240;
transferred by Thomas Bitton (Bytten), Bishop of Exeter, to new site south of the South City Gate c.1292-1303 (see immediately below);
dissolved 1538

50°43′17″N 3°32′14″W / 50.7212954°N 3.5370934°W / 50.7212954; -3.5370934 (Exeter Grey Friary, earlier site)
Franciscan Friars (under the Custody of Bristol)
transferred by Bishop Bytten from behind the North and West Gates c.1292-1303 (see immediately above)

50°43′19″N 3°32′08″W / 50.7219627°N 3.5356557°W / 50.7219627; -3.5356557 (Exeter Grey Friary)
Exeter — Polsloe Priory Benedictine nuns
founded before/c.1160: transferred from Oldbury, Warwickshire;
dissolved 1536 (1538); granted to John, Earl of Warwick during the reign of Edward VI;
largely demolished, remaining range converted into country house
The Priory Church of Saint Katherine, Polsloe
Polleshoo Priory

50°44′03″N 3°30′07″W / 50.7342466°N 3.5018894°W / 50.7342466; -3.5018894 (Polslow Priory)
Exeter — St James Priory # Cluniac monks
daughter house of the abbey of St Martin-in-the-fields, Paris;
founded before 1143 (1141) by Baldwin de Redverus (Redvers/Rivers), Earl of Devon;
dissolved; house built on site called 'The Old Abbey'
St James

50°42′31″N 3°30′56″W / 50.7086582°N 3.5155714°W / 50.7086582; -3.5155714 (Exeter — St James Priory (site))
Exeter — St Nicholas Priory ^ St Nicholas Priory, Exeter Benedictine monks — from Battle, Sussex
founded 1087 by William the Conqueror;
dissolved 1536; granted to Sir Thomas Denys 1540/1;
private houses built on site 1820;
monastic architecture restored;
in ownership of Exeter Corporation 1913;
open to public as a museum 1916;
(closed for repair until 2008)
The Priory Church of Saint Nicolas, Exeter
Benedictine Priory of St Nicholas

50°43′19″N 3°32′06″W / 50.721847°N 3.53505°W / 50.721847; -3.53505 (Exeter — St Nicholas Priory)
Exminster Monastery # pre-conquest monastic or secular community
founded 8th century

50°40′49″N 3°29′42″W / 50.6803349°N 3.4951115°W / 50.6803349; -3.4951115 (Exminster Monastery (site))
Frithelstock Priory FrithelstockPrioryLookingWest2013.jpg Augustinian Canons Regular — Arroasian
founded c.1220 by Sir Robert Beauchamp, Kt.;
dissolved 1536; granted to Arthur Viscount Lisle 1537/8
The Abbey Church of Saint Mary and Saint Gregory, Frithlestock
Frethelstoke Priory;
Fristoke Priory

50°57′18″N 4°11′19″W / 50.955019°N 4.188575°W / 50.955019; -4.188575 (Frithelstock Priory)
Hartland Abbey Hartland Abbey.jpg secular college
founded before 1066 by Gytha, wife of Earl Godwin
Augustinian Canons Regular — Arroasian
founded 1161-9 (secular collegiate church of St Nectan and its endowments granted to Richard, Archdeacon of Poictiers by Geoffrey of Dinam; approved by Henry II and Bartholomew, Bishop of Exeter);
dissolved 21 February 1539; granted to William Abbot 1545/6;
remains (cloisters) incorporated into house named 'Hartland Abbey' built on site
Hertland Abbey

50°59′46″N 4°30′27″W / 50.9960801°N 4.5076132°W / 50.9960801; -4.5076132 (Hartland Abbey)
Indio Monastery uncertain order and foundation

50°35′17″N 3°40′46″W / 50.587978°N 3.679562°W / 50.587978; -3.679562 (Indio Monastery (approx.)) (approx)
Ipplepen Priory # Augustinian Canons Regular
alien house: cell, daughter house of St Pierre-Rille
founded c.1143(?): church granted by the Fougères family to the priory, transferred from Notre-Dame-de-Fougères;
dissolved c.1414;
granted to Ottery St Mary 1438;
house called 'The Priory' possibly built on site

50°29′16″N 3°38′22″W / 50.4878764°N 3.6395645°W / 50.4878764; -3.6395645 (Ipplepen Priory (approx.)) (approx)
Ivybridge Priory + Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus & Mary — from St. Quay 1910
Augustinian (Augustinian Recollect)
founded 1932; closed 2016 with building now in parochial use; originally 'Cadleigh House'
St Austin's Priory

50°23′24″N 3°56′59″W / 50.390029°N 3.949698°W / 50.390029; -3.949698 (Ivybridge Priory)
Kerswell Priory Cluniac monks
alien house: cell dependent on Montacute, Somerset;
founded 1119–1129;
became denizen: independent from 1407;
dissolved 1538 or 1539; granted to John Etherege (Atherege) 1546/7;
16th century house built on site
Careswell Cell

50°51′00″N 3°18′59″W / 50.8498998°N 3.3164844°W / 50.8498998; -3.3164844 (Kerswell Priory)
Leigh Cell Sauvignac monks
grange(?) dependent on Buckfast(?)
founded c.1137(?);
Cistercian monks
orders merged 17 September 1147
Leigh Grange

50°18′34″N 3°48′39″W / 50.309351°N 3.810883°W / 50.309351; -3.810883 (Leigh Cell (approx.)) (approx)
Marsh Barton Priory # Augustinian Canons Regular
dependent on Plympton
founded 1142;
dissolved 1539
St Mary

St Mary de Marsh

50°42′28″N 3°31′36″W / 50.7077681°N 3.5266435°W / 50.7077681; -3.5266435 (Marsh Barton Priory (site))
Modbury Priory Benedictine monks
alien house: dependent on St-Pierre-sur-Dives
founded c.1140 by Sir Peter-sur-Dive, sic., or (purportedly) by a member of the Chambernoun family;
extant 1430;
dissolved c.1441; granted to Eton College by Edward VI;
nominally reverted to Tavistock c.1461-67
St George

50°20′55″N 3°53′25″W / 50.3484848°N 3.8903457°W / 50.3484848; -3.8903457 (Modbury Priory)
Newenham Abbey Cistercian monks
daughter house of Beaulieu, Hampshire
founded 6 January 1246 or 1247 by Reginald de Mohun, Earl of Somerset;
dissolved 1539; leased to the Duke of Suffolk; granted to Thomas, Duke of Norfolk 1562/3
The Priory Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Newenham
Neuham Abbey

50°46′13″N 3°00′42″W / 50.770299°N 3.011627°W / 50.770299; -3.011627 (Newenham Priory)
Otterton Priory Benedictine monks
alien house: cell dependent on Mont-St-Michel, Normandy;
founded before 1087 by the monks of Mont-St-Michel;
dissolved 1414; subsequently granted to Syon Abbey; granted to Richard Duke at the dissolution of Syon 1539;
part of claustral building converted into mansion
Otterington Priory

50°39′32″N 3°18′10″W / 50.6588593°N 3.3029044°W / 50.6588593; -3.3029044 (Otterton Priory)
Ottery St Mary Monastery supposed pre-Conquest monastery ("disproved")
Pilton Priory + The Church of St Mary, Pilton - - 773454.jpg Benedictine monks
founded ?before 12th century purportedly by King Athelstan (evidence lacking and disputed);
dissolved 1539
The Priory Church of Saint Mary the Virgin, Pilton

51°05′18″N 4°03′45″W / 51.0884627°N 4.0624845°W / 51.0884627; -4.0624845 (Pilton Priory)
Plymouth — St Dunstan's Abbey Sisters of the Most Holy Trinity
founded by Priscilla Lydia Sellon with the support of the Henry Phillpott, Bishop of Exeter;
transferred to Berkshire 1906;
property transferred to St Mary the Virgin at Wantage, who continued in use as St Dunstan Abbey School for Girls
The Abbey Church of Saint Dunstan, Plymouth;

St Dunstan of Glastonbury

50°22′29″N 4°09′14″W / 50.3747894°N 4.1537869°W / 50.3747894; -4.1537869 (Plymouth Abbey)
Plymouth Blackfriars(?) purported Dominican Friars
founded 1431;
site now occupied by the Black Friars Distillery;
possible confusion with Greyfriars

50°22′04″N 4°08′16″W / 50.3677942°N 4.1378143°W / 50.3677942; -4.1378143 (Plymouth Blackfriars (purported))
Plymouth Greyfriars Franciscan Friars (under the Custody of Bristol)
founded 1383;
in private ownership 1513;
dissolved 1538
Plymouth Friary

50°22′07″N 4°08′09″W / 50.3686137°N 4.1358268°W / 50.3686137; -4.1358268 (Plymouth Greyfriars)
Plymouth Whitefriars # Carmelite Friars
founded before 1296–7;
dissolved 1538

50°22′18″N 4°07′50″W / 50.3716007°N 4.1305268°W / 50.3716007; -4.1305268 (Plymouth Whitefriars (site))
Plympton Priory secular collegiate
founded 904 (before 909);
Augustinian Canons Regular church built on site 1121 by William Warlewas (Bishop of Exeter 1150-9);
dissolved 1539
The Priory Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Plympton

50°23′14″N 4°03′29″W / 50.3871692°N 4.0581608°W / 50.3871692; -4.0581608 (Plympton Priory)
St Michael's Monastery Benedictine monks
purported cell dependent on Malmesbury
St Michael
Sidmouth Priory (Augustinian) (?) purported foundation of Augustinian Canons Regular
probable confusion with Benedictine founded (see immediately below)

50°40′34″N 3°14′49″W / 50.6760381°N 3.2468221°W / 50.6760381; -3.2468221 (Sidmouth Augustinian Priory (purported))
Sidmouth Priory Benedictine monks
alien house: cell or grange dependent on Mont St Michel
founded 11th century: manor granted by William the Conqueror;
dissolved 1414(?);
Bridgettine monks grange of Syon Abbey c.1431;
remains incorporated in Marlborough Hotel

50°40′42″N 3°14′17″W / 50.6784092°N 3.2380807°W / 50.6784092; -3.2380807 (Sidmouth Priory)
Tavistock Abbey TavistockAbbey.jpg Benedictine monks
founded 961/974 (or 975-80) (begun by Ordgar, Earl of Devonshire and completed by his son);
dissolved 1539; granted to John, Lord Russell 1539/40;
mansion built on site, now 'The Bedford Hotel'
The Abbey Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Rumon, Tavistock
Tavestock Abbey

50°32′58″N 4°08′42″W / 50.5494506°N 4.1449946°W / 50.5494506; -4.1449946 (Tavistock Abbey)
Teignmouth Abbey ^ StScholastica Teignmouth.JPG Benedictine nuns
(founded at Dunkirk, Flanders 1662, daughter of Ghent)
transferred from Hammersmith, London 1862;
now divided up as private housing
The Abbey Church of Saint Scholastica, Teignmouth

50°33′25″N 3°29′25″W / 50.556879°N 3.4903°W / 50.556879; -3.4903 (Teignmouth Abbey)
Torre Abbey Torre Abbey side entrance3.jpg Premonstratensian Canons — from Welbeck, Nottinghamshire
founded 1196 by William Briwere;
dissolved 1539; granted to Sir John St.Leger 1543/4;
country house built on site, now in ownership of Torbay Corporation
Torr Abbey

50°27′48″N 3°32′28″W / 50.4633028°N 3.5409772°W / 50.4633028; -3.5409772 (Torre Abbey)
Totnes Priory Benedictine monks
alien house: cell dependent on St-Serge, Angers
founded c.1088 by John Aluredi;
became denizen: independent from before 1416;
dissolved 1536; granted to Catherine Champernoun and others 1543/4;
rebuilt priory church in parochial use, municipal buildings built on claustral site

50°25′55″N 3°41′16″W / 50.4318536°N 3.6878362°W / 50.4318536; -3.6878362 (Totnes Priory)
Totnes Trinitarian Priory Trinitarian monks
founded 1271;
dissolved 1509 (suppressed to 1519); granted to the vicars of Exeter Cathedral 1519;
seized by the Crown;
returned to the vicars 16th century until 1801
Little Totnes Priory;
Werland Priory;
Warland Priory

50°25′45″N 3°41′03″W / 50.4291967°N 3.6842743°W / 50.4291967; -3.6842743 (Totnes Trinitarian Priory (site))
Townstall Monastery, Dartmouth supposed alien cell
Yodby Monastery uncertain order and foundation
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