College of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Astley.

Description of this historic site

The site of the College of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary which was founded in the Medieval period. The site is survives as an earthwork and is situated 100m north west of Astley Castle.

Notes about this historic site

1 Originated as a chantry founded in Astley parish church in 1338 by Sir Thomas Astley. It was intended to maintain 7 chaplains. In 1388 it provided for a dean, 2 secular canons and 3 vicars. For their accomodation Sir Thomas built a ‘new church’ (see PRN 362). The foundation was surrendered to Henry VIII in 1545.
2 Founded as a chantry in 1338. Converted into a collegiate church, which was built anew in 1343.
3 At a point 74m NW of Astley Castle is a large grass-covered mound 20m in diameter. In the N corner of the same field are a number of artificial ridges. An aerial photograph might reveal the layout of the collegiate buildings.
4 Note, however, that the OS record the mound in reference 2 as a Gazebo mound (PRN 6129) and the banks as the remains of fishponds (PRN 6128).
5 Scheduled as an Ancient Monument in April 1994. The area between the south-west corner of the moat and the north wall of the parish church forms a levelled platform which is thought to be the site of Astley College. In 1338 Sir Thomas de Astley founded a charity served by four secular priests in the Lady Chapel of the parish church. In 1343 the chantry was converted into a collegiate establishment and the Lady Chapel was rebuilt and rededicated. A series of openings and other features in the north wall of the present nave, opening onto the levelled platform, probably indicate where the collegiate buildings were attached. The college itself was dissolved in 1545 although an estate map of of 1664 shows that, at that date, there was still a large building immediately north of the parish church. The buried remains of the collegiate buildings will survive both within and to the north of the present graveyard and are included in the schedule.

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