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Monument Name Bicknacre Priory
SMR Number 5545
Summary Remains of the 12th century priory.
Media
Bicknacre Priory, Woodham Ferrers
Bicknacre Priory, Woodham Ferrers
Associated Media
None Available
Description Walls are iron puddingstone rubble with some brick, the dressings are of Reigate and a harder limestone. The priory was founded c1175 by Maurice Fitz-Geoffrey for Augustinian canons. The ruins apparently date from c1250. The house was always a poor one, coming to an end in 1507 when the last canon died. The only remains are the west arch of the church's crossing, with adjoining responds from the north and south arches. Part of the west wall of the north transept is attached, and there are definite indications of the north transept in the turf. Stumps of walls of the nave are also attached to the crossing. On the north side is part of the splay of a doorway or window. 'There are doubtful indications in the turf of a chancel extending 65ft E. of the existing arch'. There no visible traces of the south transept. West of the the south arch, on the outer face, is a heavy corbel for a roof. This indicates the former existence of a south aisle or chapel on this side that communicated with the south transept, without an intermediate arch. Part of a respond has been reset in what is left of the north transept's west wall (attached to the crossing). Only stumps of walls of the nave remain, to north and south. On the north side is part of the splay of a doorway or window. The lack of evidence of an aisle on the north side of the nave suggests that the cloister and domestic buildings were to the north of the church. <1> <2> This priory was not mentioned in the 'Taxatio' of 1291. A grant of lands was made to the priory in 1337, with a stipulation that a mass be said daily for the donor. <4> in <3> The crossing arch was dilapidated in 1980. <3> A plan of the remains is in the SMR (copy of RCHM plan). <5> 'Soon after it was established, the Priory owned nearly 1, 000 acres of land and properties including a mill. It also made a living from one-and-a-half churches'. Henry VIII allowed the priory to become part of a London hospital. After the dissolution, there is no firm evidence of what happened to the priory. An 18th century visitor is quoted as saying 'for many years the roads in the vicinity have been mended with stones taken from the ruins'. The priory became a farmhouse in 1786. Priory Farm now has little of the original building incorporated in it. <6> This source has photos of illustrations of the priory ruins in made 1793, 1818 and c1832. The caption to the one of 1793 says that at that time there was still much of the chapel in Priory Farm house, 'complete with the painted figures of saints, with sentences issuing from their mouths'. The crossing appears to have been built into the farm buildings, from the illustration. The line of an aisle (?) roof seems to be visible. The 1818 illustration shows a wall with a round-headed window and the other crossing arches. Possibly the wall was part of the chancel? <6>-<10> Other ref: <11> Site Assessment: The crossing arch was dilapidated in 1980. <3> Hand excavation of a foundation trench for a new footbridge across the stream forming the n-w edge of Priory field was carried out in 2006. The trench isdirectly north of standing priory remains. Beneath the subsoil a patchy surface composed of broken roof tile and flints extended for c.1m. The tile is considered to be medieval in date and may have been part of the roof of the Priory. The surface is considered to be post-medieval in date and may be related to when the Priory ruins were re-used locally. <12> Aerial Photos. <13>
Monument Type(s) PRIORY (Dated 1066AD to 1539AD)
PRIORY (Dated 1066AD to 1539AD)
ARCH (Dated 1066AD to 1539AD)
WALL PAINTING (Dated 1066AD to 1539AD)
WALL (Dated 1066AD to 1539AD)
PATH (Dated 1540AD to 1900AD)
Monument Class(es) DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE
RUINED BUILDING
Period 1066AD to 1539AD Medieval - Post Medieval
Status Not Known
Administration Area WOODHAM FERRERS AND BICKNACRE, CHELMSFORD, ESSEX
National Grid Reference Square: TL70SE
Ref: 785026
Finds GLASS BEAKER (Dated 1540AD To 1900AD)

POTTERY VESSEL (Dated 1540AD To 1900AD)

Events Field visit to 5545 by Paterson, H, FMW

Priory Farm, Bicknacre

Trench for new footbridge, Priory Field

Resistivity Survey at Bicknacre Priory

Sources <1> Desc Text : An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex - Volume 4 (RCHME) Vol 4, pp173-174 Dated : 1923

<10> Desc Text : Crumbling Landmark (Woodham Chronicle) 19 Jan 1990 Dated : 1990

<11> Desc Text : The Buildings of England, Essex (Pevsner, N) p74 Dated : 1954

<12> Desc Text : Priory Field, Bicknacre, Essex: Arrchaeological monitoring (Ennis, T) Dated : 2006

<13> Aerial Photo : CP/05/13/11-13/09 (Saunders, Helen) 3 Pics Dated : 2005

<14> Desc Text : Bicknacre Priory resistivity Survey (MAHG) Dated : 2004

<2> RECORD SHEET/FORM : OS cards (Ordnance Survey) TL70SE10, 1962 Dated : unknown

<3> Desc Text : SMR form unknown Dated : 1960 0nwards

<4> Mention : The Geography of Augustinian Settlement (Robinson, DM) No 80, p149, 280 Dated : 1980

<5> Desc Text : An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex - Volume 4 (RCHME) Dated : 1923

<6> Desc Text : Bicknacre's link to a fascinating past... (Fletcher, G) 14 August 1985 Dated : 1985

<7> Graphic material : Excursions through Essex (unknown) Dated : 1818

<8> Graphic material : ILLUSTRATION by (unknown) Dated : unknown

<9> Graphic material : ILLUSTRATION by (unknown) Dated : 1793

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