Gisborough Priory


Saltburn, United Kingdom

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Artist's Description


Gisborough Priory is located on the eastern fringes of the medieval market town of Guisborough, which lies to the north of the North Yorkshire Moors in the north-east of England.

In 1119 AD, Robert De Brus founded and lavishly endowed a priory for Augustinian canons at Guisborough. This monastery became one of the most powerful in Yorkshire and dominated the life and fortune of both the town of Guisborough and the surrounding area throughout the Middle Ages.

The Norman Church was narrower and shorter than its successors and the only part visible today is the arched gatehouse. Around 1200 AD, the Priory was able to rebuild the church on a much larger scale. The west end had twin towers either side of a large double doorway. The aisles were floored with coloured geometric tiles, while the columns of the arcade stood on sandstone paving. The north aisle was divided into a series of small alcoves and these often contained burials.

Little is known of the other buildings of the Priory, which were positioned to the south of the church. A dovecot was added in the sixteenth century and at the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1540, Gisborough priory possessed two gatehouses and a large guesthouse. In 1550 the Priory grounds were sold to Thomas Chaloner, who incorporated the standing stonework into his ornamental gardens for his new mansion at Bow Street. The mansion has since been demolished but the magnificent east window was left as a romantic ruin.

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