Site of Wootton Wawen Priory

Description of this historic site

The site of Wootton Wawen Priory, a Medieval priory for which there is documentary evidence. Archaeological work and finds of Medieval pottery have added to the information about this site, which lies west of Wootton Wawen church.

Notes about this historic site

1 Soon after the conquest, the church of Wootton Wawen and an endowment of land were given to the Benedictine Abbey of St Peter De Castellion de Couches, who established a small alien priory. A prior and one monk were the only inhabitants. In 1398 Richard II gave the priory to the Carthusians at Coventry, the grant was soon reversed by Henry IV. It was bestowed with all its possessions in 1443 upon the Provost and Scholars of Kings College, Cambridge, and in 1447 the Abbey of Couches released all title to the priory of the College, in whose hands the manor still remains. No trace is left of the priory buildings but they are known to have stood between the churchyard and the ancient fishpool which lies near the Henley Road. The supposed site shows much disturbance, probably as a result of robbery. The ancient fishpool has been filled. In 1963 stone foundations and two skeletons were uncovered during grave digging. A magnetometer survey revealed post holes and pits and a hearth. Subsequent trial trenching revealed building material and pottery dating to 15th century. Three phases of occupation were tentatively identified.
4 Further investigation in 1974 to the west and north of the church prior to the cemetery being extended. Three phases of use were identified, the first being Saxon timber buildings, possibly part of a monastic or aristocratic complex. The second phase: during the early Medieval period the site was a graveyard; the final phase of occupation was represented by Medieval buildings.
5Immediately adjacent to the church are the earthwork remains of large rectangular buildings surrounding a yard and approached by a hollow way. The form of the earthworks suggests they were part of the former priory.
6 Full report on the excavations. Finds include roofing slate with a board for ‘Nine Mens Morris’ scratched on one side. Also various medieval pottery was found.
7 Scheduling record.
8 Correspondence from 1973 about the 1964 excavation.
9 Report of the excavation in April 1964.
10 Correspondence from 1973.
11 Correspondence from 1980.

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