OA Library

Bradenstoke Priory, Wiltshire

Gill, Jonathan Bradenstoke Priory, Wiltshire. [Client Report] (Unpublished)

[thumbnail of LYBRBP19.pdf]

Download (7MB) | Preview


Bradenstoke Priory in Wiltshire is a site of considerable historical significance,
comprising the scheduled remains of an Augustinian monastery originally
established in the 12th century, but surrendered in 1539 as part of the
dissolution. Some of the monastic buildings were pulled down in the postmedieval
period but others, including the 14th-century west range of the
cloisters and the medieval tithe barn, survived into the 20th century before
being demolished (or dismantled) in 1929 when the site was acquired by the
American tycoon William Randolph Hearst. Hearst was intending to re-erect
the buildings at his other estates, or at least to reuse significant elements of
the buildings, and although some elements were reused at St Donat’s in
Glamorgan, the roof timbers from the tithe barn remain unused, packed in
shipping crates in California.
The main west range (the former Guest House or Kings Lodgings) was pulled
down in 1929, but the vaulted undercroft partially survives, and although its
condition has deteriorated, a series of separate programmes of conservation
work have been undertaken over the last 15 years to stabilise and consolidate
the structure. The structure is included on Historic England’s Heritage at Risk
Register and parts of the work have been funded by grants from Historic
England (HE). This work has allowed a series of temporary props that had been
inserted to support the vaulting to be removed.
The most recent element of the conservation work has included some limited
archaeological and building recording works, undertaken as a condition of the
HE grant. This has comprised an archaeological watching brief during the
excavation of a shallow drainage trench to the west of the undercroft. An
unstable pier or section of wall that required rebuilding was recorded, while a
heap of spoil which had previously been removed from the top of the vaults
was rapidly assessed.
The main part of the drainage trench went through previously disturbed
ground where an earlier drain (probably 20th century in date) had been laid.
Possible foundations for the range were exposed where the trench adjoined
the building immediately adjacent to a buttress. A broadly east-to-west line of
stones, which probably formed part of a drainage channel to carry water away
from the building, was also recorded. Owing to their small size and character,
it is unlikely that this line of stones formed part of a foundation from a former
The section of wall that has been recorded prior to dismantling formed part
of the projection at the southern end of the west range. This was the location
of the Prior’s Lodgings in the monastic complex although it is believed that the
wall formed part of an early 19th-century reconstruction of the structure. One
feature of interest is a small bread oven (post-medieval) on the east side of
the wall.The assessment of the spoil comprised spreading the heap and rapidly
inspecting it for archaeological remains such as moulded stones. A number of
oyster shells and minor features were noted.

Item Type: Client Report
Subjects: Period > UK Periods > Medieval 1066 - 1540 AD
Period > UK Periods > Modern 1901 - present
Period > UK Periods > Post Medieval 1540 - 1901 AD
Geographical Areas > English Counties > Wiltshire
Divisions: Oxford Archaeology South > Fieldwork
Depositing User: Scott
Date Deposited: 22 Nov 2021 12:58
Last Modified: 22 Nov 2021 12:58
URI: http://eprints.oxfordarchaeology.com/id/eprint/6154

Actions (login required)

View Item
View Item