West Riding of Yorkshire

Monk Bretton Priory, West Riding of Yorkshire

Cluniac Monks

Monk Bretton Priory was founded in the year 1154 by Adam Fitzswain as a daughter house of Pontefract Priory. The Priory was part of the Cluniac order and was originally known as the Priory of St. Mary Magdalene of Lund before taking the name of the nearby village of Bretton which itself later took the “Monk” part of its name from the Priory.

On Yorkshire terms Monk Bretton is quite a small monastic settlement (compare it with Fountains, Whitby or Riveaulx, but the remains are impressive, if oddly sited now amongst modern housing.

In November 1538 the Dissolution arrived and the monks were expelled. The property immediately became owned by the Blithman family who sold it in 1580 to George Talbot, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury. He later granted the estate to his fourth son, Henry.

It doesn’t seem to have had much history since that time and slowly fell into disrepair with only the gatehouse being used as a residence. The Priory is well known for its extensive system of drains and conduits which are well preserved.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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