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List of monastic houses in Dorset facts for kids

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The following is a list of the monastic houses in Dorset, 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

Alphabetic listing

Foundation Image Communities & Provenance Formal Name or Dedication
& Alternative Names
Online References & Location
Abbotsbury Abbey + AbbotsburyAbbey.JPG secular canons collegiate
founded c.1026 by Orcus, steward to Canute;
Benedictine monks — from Cerne;
founded 1044 (during the reign of Edward the Confessor) by Orcius or by his widow Tola;
dissolved 12 March 1539; granted to Sir Giles Strangwaies 1543/4;
much in private ownership, partly in parochial use
The Abbey Church of Saint Peter
Abbotesbury Abbey;
Abbodesbirig Abbey

50°39′52″N 2°35′56″W / 50.6643562°N 2.5988647°W / 50.6643562; -2.5988647 (Abbotsbury Abbey)
Beaminster pre-conquest monastic or secular community founded before 862 Bebingmynster

50°48′29″N 2°44′32″W / 50.8080162°N 2.742092°W / 50.8080162; -2.742092 (Beaminster (approx. site loc.)) (approx)
Bindon Abbey Bindon Abbey House - - 99781.jpg Cistercian monks — from Little Bindon
dependent on Forde;
founded 22 or 27 September 1172 by Robert de Burgo and his wife Maud;
dissolved 1539; granted to Sir Richard Poynings 1540/1;
now in private ownership

50°40′50″N 2°12′29″W / 50.6805524°N 2.208142°W / 50.6805524; -2.208142 (Bindon Abbey)
Blackmoor Priory Hermitage order and foundation uncertain
hermitage in existence by 1300, with brothers apparently following a rule similar to Augustinian Friars;
dissolved/abandoned, becoming a free chapel after 1424

50°51′40″N 2°28′45″W / 50.8610107°N 2.4793053°W / 50.8610107; -2.4793053 (Blackmoor Priory Hermitage (approx. site loc.)) (approx)
Bridport Whitefriars (?) purported foundation for Carmelite Friars
founded 1261;
probably ceased to exist before 1365

50°43′31″N 2°46′00″W / 50.7251923°N 2.7665699°W / 50.7251923; -2.7665699 (Bridport Whitefriars (purported))
Bridport Priory order uncertain 13th century;
converted into a residence named 'St Jones'

50°43′31″N 2°46′00″W / 50.7251923°N 2.7665699°W / 50.7251923; -2.7665699 (Bridport Priory)
Cerne Abbey ^,
Cerne Abbas
CerneAbbeyGatehouse.JPG monastic before 604
founded by St Augustine
secular ? 9th century;
Benedictine monks
founded before 987 by Engleward (Egelward);
purportedly destroyed by Canute;
dissolved 1539; granted to John Dudley and ___ Ascough 1574/5;
remains now incorporated into private house
St Peter

St Mary, St Peter and St Benedict

St Edwold (St Athelwold)
Cernell Abbey

50°48′34″N 2°28′32″W / 50.8095043°N 2.4754858°W / 50.8095043; -2.4754858 (Cerne Abbey)
Charminster pre-conquest monastic or secular community;
parish church of St Mary (dating from 11th century) possible successor of minster on site

50°43′59″N 2°27′21″W / 50.7330022°N 2.4559057°W / 50.7330022; -2.4559057 (Charminster (possible minster site))
Chilcombe Camera Knights Hospitaller
dissolved before 1308

50°43′01″N 2°40′52″W / 50.7170177°N 2.681222°W / 50.7170177; -2.681222 (Chilcombe Camera (site))
Christchurch Priory + ChristchurchPriory.jpg tradition of very early monastery;
secular canons collegiate
founded before/c.1060;
manor and church granted by Henry I to Richard de Redvers and Baldwin de Redvers, Earl of Devon;
Augustinian Canons Regular
founded 1150, by petition of Hilary, Bishop of Chichester, and the bishop of Winchester to Richard de Redvers;
dissolved 28 November 1539; granted to Joseph Kirton 1545/6;
on site of earlier church demolished 1094;
priory church 1540, now in parochial use
The Priory Church of Christ, Christchurch

Church of the Holy Trinity, Twyneham
Twyneham Priory;
Twinham Priory

50°43′57″N 1°46′28″W / 50.7323673°N 1.7745562°W / 50.7323673; -1.7745562 (Christchurch Priory)
Cranborne Priory CranbornePriory.JPG tradition of early monastery
Benedictine monks
founded c.(?)980 by Haylward Snew (Aylward Sneaw (Snow)); becoming dependent on Tewkesbury (of which Cranborne was previously the mother house) in 11th century;
abbot and 57 monks removed to Tewkesbury 1102, Cranborne reduced to priory status, becoming a cell dependent on Tewkesbury;
dissolved 31 January 1540; granted to Thomas Francis 1559/60
The Abbey Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Bartholomew

The Priory Church of The Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Bartholomew, Cranborne
Cranbourne Priory;
Cranburn Cell

50°55′07″N 1°55′26″W / 50.9186529°N 1.9237849°W / 50.9186529; -1.9237849 (Cranborne Priory)
Dorchester Greyfriars # Franciscan Friars Minor, Conventual (under the Custody of Bristol)
founded before 1267 by "the ancestors of Sir John Chidiock";
dissolved 1538 (1536); granted to Sir Edmund Peckham 1543/4

50°43′01″N 2°26′08″W / 50.7169531°N 2.435663°W / 50.7169531; -2.435663 (Dorchester Greyfriars (site))
Forde Abbey ^ FordeAbbey.JPG Cistercian monks
daughter house of Waverley, Surrey;
(community founded at Brightley, Devon 1136 or 1138)
transferred from Brightley 1146/8?;
dissolved 1539;
claustral remains now incorporated a mansion with public access

50°50′33″N 2°54′41″W / 50.842587°N 2.911457°W / 50.842587; -2.911457 (Forde Abbey)
Frampton Priory Benedictine monks
alien house: daughter house of St-Etienne, Caen, Normandy;
founded before 1077 by William the Conqueror;
dissolved before 1414; granted to St Stephen's College, Westminster 1437; granted to Sir Christopher Hatton 1571/2, who sold it to John Brown, Esq.

50°45′01″N 2°31′54″W / 50.750370°N 2.531708°W / 50.750370; -2.531708 (Frampton Priory)
Fryer Mayne Preceptory Knights Hospitaller
founded before 1275;
shared single preceptor with Baddesley 15th century;
formally merged with Baddesley 1471;
dissolved; granted to William Pole and Edward Downing 1563/4
Friary Mayne Preceptory;
Friar Mayne Preceptory;
Freyer Mayne Preceptory;
Mayne Preceptory;
Mayne Ospitalis

50°43′04″N 2°24′44″W / 50.717877°N 2.4121803°W / 50.717877; -2.4121803 (Fryer Mayne Preceptory)
Gillingham Friary possible Dominican Friars
founded c.1267: Henry II granted oak for repair of the Dominicans' church;
no other reference

51°01′59″N 2°17′12″W / 51.0330047°N 2.2865832°W / 51.0330047; -2.2865832 (Gillingham Friary)
Gillingham Minster Saxon minster
19th century St Mary's Parish Church possibly on site

51°02′18″N 2°16′39″W / 51.0382401°N 2.2774959°W / 51.0382401; -2.2774959 (Gillingham Minster)
Hilfield Friary | Franciscan Friars
founded 1921 in farm buildings; extant
The Friary of Saint Francis, Hilfield

50°50′18″N 2°31′31″W / 50.8383255°N 2.5253105°W / 50.8383255; -2.5253105 (Hilfield Friary)
Holme Priory Cluniac monks
alien house: dependent on Montacute
founded 1142 (mid 12th century or c.1107) by Robert de Lincoln;
became denizen: independent from 1407;
dissolved 1539; granted to John Hannon 1547;
parish church until 1746;
mansion named 'Holme Priory House' built on site of remains
The Blessed Virgin Mary
East Holme Priory;
Holne Priory;
Holme Cell

50°40′24″N 2°08′39″W / 50.6732505°N 2.1440305°W / 50.6732505; -2.1440305 (Holme Priory)
Horton Priory Benedictine monks
founded 961 (960 or (c.)970) by Ordgar, Earl of Devonshire or his son Ordulph (Edulph);
probably destroyed in raids by the Danes 997;
refounded c.1050;
reduced to priory cell status 1122 under Henry I, dependent on Sherborne;
dissolved 1539; granted to Edward, Duke of Somerset 1547; then to William, Earl of Pembroke;
18th-century church built on site of ruins of previous parochial church on the site of the priory
St Wolfrida
Horton Abbey;
Horton Cell

50°52′00″N 1°57′31″W / 50.8665449°N 1.9585222°W / 50.8665449; -1.9585222 (Horton Priory)
Iwerne Minster pre-conquest monastic or secular community;
parish church of St Mary possible successor of minster on site

50°55′46″N 2°11′20″W / 50.9294566°N 2.188755°W / 50.9294566; -2.188755 (Iwerne Minster (probable minster site))
Kingston Camera Knights Hospitaller
member of Fryer Mayne, with Stinsford church

50°43′07″N 2°24′36″W / 50.7186616°N 2.4099112°W / 50.7186616; -2.4099112 (Kingston Camera (approx. loc.)) (approx)
Little Bindon Abbey Bindon hill from the east.jpg Cistercian monks — from Forde
founded 1149 by William de Glastonia;
transferred to Bindon 1172;
much of the masonry used in the construction of Lulworth Castle

50°37′05″N 2°14′29″W / 50.6181744°N 2.241506°W / 50.6181744; -2.241506 (Little Bindon Abbey)
Loders Priory LodersPriory.JPG Benedictine monks
alien house: daughter house of St-Mary-de-Montebourg, Normandy
founded c.1107 (during the reign of Henry I) by Richard Re Redveriis;
Carthusian monks under the monastery of St Anne at Coventry 1399-1414; Priory Church now in parochial use;
Brigetine nuns (under Syon, Isleworth) 1414
St Mary Magdalen
Lodres Priory

50°44′45″N 2°43′21″W / 50.7458653°N 2.7225387°W / 50.7458653; -2.7225387 (Loders Priory)
Lulworth Abbey Trappist monks — from Val Sainte, Switzerland
founded 1795 by Mr Thomas Weld;
raised to abbey status 1813;
forced to leave England and returned to Melleray 1817
The Monastery of the Most Holy Trinity, Lulworth
Lyme Friary (?) Carmelite Friars — to be licensed to William Darre, chaplain — apparently never established Lyme Regis Friary
Lytchett Minster pre-conquest monastic or secular community

Melcombe Priory,
Melcombe Regis
Dominican Friars (under the Visitation of London)
founded 1418 by Rogers Esq. of Brianston;
dissolved 1538; granted to Sir John Rogers 1543/4
Milton Friary;
Melcombe Regis Friary

50°36′55″N 2°27′30″W / 50.6151416°N 2.4584699°W / 50.6151416; -2.4584699 (Melcomb Friary (approx. loc.)) (approx)
Milton Abbey ^,
Milton Abbas
Milton Abbey Church 2015 (a).JPG secular college
founded 938 (or 933) by King Athelstan;
Benedictine monks
founded 964;
destroyed by fire 1309; rebuilt 1322;
dissolved 1539; granted to Sir John Tregonwall 1539/40; restored 1789 and 1865;
domestic remains incorporated into a mansion 1771;
Abbey Church is owned by the Diocese of Salisbury but used by Milton Abbey School in term time as its chapel. The Abbey Church is open to the public and accessed through the school grounds.
The Priory Church of Saint Michael and Saint Mary, Milton

The Abbey Church of The Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint Samson and Saint Branwalader, Milton
Middleton Abbey

50°49′11″N 2°17′15″W / 50.8198488°N 2.2876132°W / 50.8198488; -2.2876132 (Milton Abbey)
Muckleford Grange possible Tironensian monks
alien house: cell (grange?) dependent on Tiron;
estate granted to Tiron Abbey, Normandy, de facto controlled by Andwell, Hampshire

50°44′29″N 2°30′33″W / 50.7413438°N 2.5092173°W / 50.7413438; -2.5092173 (Muckleford Grange (approx. loc.)) (approx)
Piddletrenthide Priory Benedictine monks
cell dependent on Hyde Abbey, Hampshire
founded unknown;
dissolved 1354 (1345?); chapel demolished after 1382
Piddletrenthide Cell

50°47′56″N 2°25′37″W / 50.7988829°N 2.4269485°W / 50.7988829; -2.4269485 (Piddletrenthide Priory (site))
Poole — St George's Friary Friars of St George — apparently a guild property

Povington Priory Benedictine monks
alien house: grange: dependent on Bec-Hellouin;
foundation date unknown, manor granted to Bec-Hellouin by Robert Fitz Gerold;
dissolved 1230; reckoned to be a parcel of Ogbourne by 1291
Povington Grange

50°38′15″N 2°10′15″W / 50.6375201°N 2.1709666°W / 50.6375201; -2.1709666 (Povington Priory (site))
Shaftesbury Abbey Shaftesbury Abbey ruins.jpeg Benedictine nuns
founded c.888 by Alfred (or before 860 by Alfred, his father Æthelbald and brothers Æthelbert and Ethelred), possibly on site of 7th century Saxon minster (see immediately below);
Benedictine nuns
refounded during the reign of Edgar;
dissolved 2 March 1539; granted to William, Earl of Southampton 1547/8;
remains now within a walled garden
The Abbey Church of Saint Mary, Shaftesbury

The Abbey Church of Saint Mary, Saint Edward, King and Martyr, Shaftesbury

51°00′19″N 2°11′55″W / 51.0053014°N 2.1986148°W / 51.0053014; -2.1986148 (Shaftesbury Abbey)
Shaftesbury Minster Saxon nuns
possibly founded before c.670;
destroyed? in raids by the Danes before 888;
Benedictine nunnery possibly built on site (see immediately above)

51°00′19″N 2°11′55″W / 51.0053014°N 2.1986148°W / 51.0053014; -2.1986148 (Shaftesbury Minster (possible site)) (possible)
Shapwick Grange purported priory order and foundation uncertain;
acquired by the Carthusians at Sheen, Surrey (Greater London) after 1414; (limited corroboration for existence and status)
Shapwick Priory

50°48′48″N 2°05′06″W / 50.8132295°N 2.0849669°W / 50.8132295; -2.0849669 (Shapwick Grange)
Sherborne Abbey ^ SherborneAbbey.JPG founded before 672: granted by Cenwealh, King of Wessex;
Saxon minster and bishop's see
secular episcopal diocesan cathedral priory
founded 705;
Benedictine monks
cathedral priory refounded c.993;
see transferred to Old Sarum between 1075 and 1078;
raised to abbey status 1172;
dissolved 18 March 1539; granted to Sir John Horsey 1546/7;
church now in parochial use
monastic buildings now incorporated into a public school
The Blessed Virgin Mary
Shireburn Abbey

50°56′48″N 2°31′00″W / 50.9467121°N 2.5166363°W / 50.9467121; -2.5166363 (Sherborne Abbey)
Spettisbury Priory Benedictine nuns
alien house: cell dependent on St-Pierre-de-Préaux;
founded before 1100 (during the reign of William II) by Robert de Bellomonte, Earl of Mallent (Count of Meulan) and Earl of Leicester;
annexed to Toft Monks 1324;
privately leased 1390;
granted to Witham Priory by Henry V;
dissolved 1535; granted to Charles Blount, Lord Mountjoy 1543/4
dedication unknown
Spetisbury Priory;
Spectesbury Priory

50°49′07″N 2°07′36″W / 50.8187202°N 2.1266162°W / 50.8187202; -2.1266162 (Spetisbury Priory)
St Monica's Priory, Spetisbury Augustinian Canonesses Regular of the Windesheim Congregation 1800;
Bridgettine Nuns 1861;
Canons Regular of the Lateran 1887;
Ursuline Nuns 1907-1926;
sold at auction to Thomas Oakley 9 June 1927
The Priory of Saint Monica, Spetisbury

50°49′18″N 2°07′31″W / 50.8217839°N 2.1253395°W / 50.8217839; -2.1253395 (St Monica's Priory, Spetisbury)
Stour Provost Grange Benedictine monks
alien house: grange dependent on St-Leger, Preaux;
founded c.1070;
dissolved c.1471

50°59′17″N 2°18′02″W / 50.9880035°N 2.3004556°W / 50.9880035; -2.3004556 (Stour Provost Grange)
Sturminster Marshall pre-conquest monastic or secular community

Sturminster Newton pre-conquest monastic or secular community

Tarrant Abbey Anchoresses of "no order"
founded c.1186;
Cistercian nuns
founded c.1100 by Richard Power, Bishop of Chichester (Richard le Poor of Salisbury), built by Ralph de Kahaynes;
raised to abbey status before 1228;
dissolved 13 March 1539; granted to Sir Thomas Wyat 1541/2;
site now occupied by Abbey Farm; Tarrant Abbey House possibly incorporates remains of the abbey
St Mary and All Saints
Tarrant Crawford Abbey;
Tarrant Kains Abbey;
Tarrent Abbey;
Tarrant Cell;
possibly 'Camesterne' ('Camestrum') (St Mary Magdalene)

50°49′53″N 2°07′20″W / 50.831431°N 2.1222764°W / 50.831431; -2.1222764 (Tarrant Abbey)
Wareham Nunnery WarehamPriory.JPG Benedictine? nuns
alien house: daughter house of Lira, Normandy
reputedly founded c.672 (late7th/early8th century);
said to have been destroyed in raids by the Danes 876;
traditionally refounded 915 by Elfleda ;
dissolved 997-8: again destroyed by the Danes;
destroyed again 1015;
monastic property in possession of St Wandrille Abbey (which held the minster) 1086;
Benedictine priory built on site (see immediately below)
The Blessed Virgin Mary
monasterium of holy virgins

50°41′03″N 2°06′28″W / 50.6842894°N 2.1077391°W / 50.6842894; -2.1077391 (Wareham Nunnery)
Wareham Priory Benedictine monks
alien house: cell dependent on Lyre Abbey, Normandy
founded 12th century (during the reign of Henry I) by Robert, Earl of Leicester on site of earlier nunnery (see immediately above);
ownership passed to Mount Grace, Yorkshire 1398;
dissolved 1414;
Carthusian monks
granted to the Carthusians at Sheen, Surrey (Greater London) after 1414;
dissolved 1536; granted to Thomas Reve and George Cotton;
house named 'The Priory of Lady St Mary House' ('The Priory') built on site 16th century, possibly incorporates remains of the priory
Lady St Mary Priory
Warham Priory

50°41′03″N 2°06′28″W / 50.6842896°N 2.1077389°W / 50.6842896; -2.1077389 (Wareham Priory)
West Lulworth Priory Cistercian monks — from Forde
founded 1149 (or 1171(?) by William de Glastonia);
transferred to Bindon 1172;
site close to 13th century Little Bindon chapel

50°37′06″N 2°14′29″W / 50.6182391°N 2.2413477°W / 50.6182391; -2.2413477 (West Lulworth Priory)
Wilcheswood Monastery order uncertain
founded 1373 by Roger le Walleys, lord of the manor of Langton Wallis;
earliest dated charter 1295 (speculated to have followed Augustinian and Premonstratensian rules, or a small collegiate church);
apparently dissolved 1536
St Leonard
Wilcheswood Priory;
Wilkswood Priory
Wimborne Minster Dorset wimborne minster.jpg Benedictine? nuns and monks
founded before 705 by Cuthburh;
destroyed ? 998;
converted into a college of secular canons before 1066;
dissolved 1547; granted to Edward, Duke of Somerset 1547; then to Giles Keylway and William Leonard; then to Edward, Lord Clinton
St Cuthburga
Winburn Priory;
Twinborn Priory

50°47′56″N 1°59′17″W / 50.798978°N 1.9880909°W / 50.798978; -1.9880909 (Wimborne Minster)
Winterborn Monkton Grange Cluniac monks
alien house: grange dependent on Cluny
founded before 1214;
dissolved c.1450
Winterborn Grange;
Winterborn Monckton

50°41′26″N 2°28′07″W / 50.6906263°N 2.4687266°W / 50.6906263; -2.4687266 (Winterborn Monkton Grange (site))
Yetminster Saxon minster
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