Wootton Wawen Church, Warwickshire

Benedictine Monks

The Priory Church of St. Peter - known as the "Saxon Sanctuary" - is Warwickshire's oldest church. It dates to around the year 900 and still sports a Saxon tower. Of the rest of the Saxon monastery there is known sign, but during the early Norman period a Priory of Benedictine monks from Conches set up here and used the existing Saxon Church as the basis for their own.

The Priory was one of the so-called "Alien Priories", i.e. priories which were beholden to main Abbeys abroad and as such the French monks here began to have a difficult time as England and France entered into the Hundred Years' War period.

The Black Death killed half the population of the village and the Priory of the Church and it never recovered from this blow.

In 1443 the Alien Priories in England were disbanded and Wootton Wawen was amongst them. The Church and the estate passed to King's College in Cambridge which was founded at around this time.

Of the Priory buildings besides the Church only earthworks now survive, but the Church is magnificent and ancient and is without doubt one of the best in this part of the Midlands. Inside is the "Saxon Sanctuary" - an exhibition charting the history of the village and Church.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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