There are a few priories in Gloucestershire, most of which are in Gloucester. The priories of Gloucester are all within walking distance of each other and make a great walk through history. There are many churches and the cathedral to see in the city. Thus enabling you to experience the city’s religious history.
What is a Priory?
A priory is a monastery of men or women that live under religious vows that a prior or prioress oversees. Priories may be houses of mendicant friars or nuns or monasteries of monks or nuns. Houses of canons regular and canonesses regular also use this term, the alternative being “canonry”.
Priories of Gloucestershire
Details of the well-known priories within the county that you can visit.
St Oswald’s Priory
The Anglo-Saxon St. Oswald’s Priory is near to Gloucester Cathedral. It is a historically significant religious site in the city and has an interesting backstory. The current site is a preserved ruin in a park. It has many posters detailing the history of the artefact.
Lady Aethelflaed of Mercia founded St. Oswald’s Priory. She was the daughter of Alfred the Great, in around 900AD. They constructed the original building using recycled Roman stones. Originally, this site was a Christian burial site, but in 909AD. They brought the relics of St Oswald to the priory. Then they dedicated it to St Oswald.
Llanthony Secunda Priory
Located to the south of Gloucester, just off the canal towpath and a short walk from the historic docks. The grounds of Llanthony Secunda Priory are open all year round for you to explore. The grounds are home to many wildflowers and reeds in their pond.
Only a small part of the medieval priory has survived. This includes the great barn. What remains of this well shows the size and quality of the original building. The ruins of the original barn are accessible throughout the year while walking the grounds.
The canons of Llanthony Priory established Llanthony Secunda Priory in Gloucester. They formed this when they were driven out of their priory in Wales because of constant raids by the Welsh.
In 1135, after frequent attacks from the local Welsh population, the monks of the original Llanthony Priory retreated and then moved to Gloucester. This was the birth of Llanthony Secunda Priory. The site has various open days where you can explore inside with a guide.
Greyfriars Priory in Gloucester.
Greyfriars was a medieval monastic house founded about 1231. The current Greyfriars site is the remains of the 16th-century friary church.
They founded Gloucester Blackfriars in 1239 for a community of Dominican friars. They called these Blackfriars because of the colour of their habits. Significant fragments of the church still survive, including 13th-century roof timbers. At its busiest, the monastery was home to 40 friars. Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries meant Blackfriars were closed in 1539. They sold the buildings to a local clothier called Alderman Thomas Bell; he, however, converted the church into a mansion. He used the buildings around the cloister as a workshop.
Guided Tours are available on request. You can arrange tours via the local Civic Trust. The venue is also now available for use for weddings, corporate hire and other private events.