English Ruined Abbeys - Midlands and South

St Leonard's Priory, Stamford


On of the best surviving examples of Norman architecture in Stamford.


In some ways, there isn't a lot to see here - just the remains of the priory church, but what is left is one of the best surviving eaxamples of Norman architecture in Stamford.

It is thought this was originally the site of a Saxon monastery founded by St Wilfrid in 658, which was destroyed during Danish raids. It was  rebuilt in 1082 by the monks of Durham, to administer their southern properties. It was a small foundation with few monks and its income came from mixed farming.

St Leonard's Priory, Stamford

The priory was dissolved in 1538 and its lands were granted to Sir William Cecil. The site became a farm and the church buildings were converted into a barn.

St Leonard's Priory, Stamford
 
Much of the rest of the priory buildings were used for building stone. By1833 the building had deteriorated and west front had collapsed. This was rebuilt by the Marquis of Exeter, of Burghley House.

St Leonard's Priory, Stamford

All that remains of the priory is the Norman nave, which formed one wall of the cloisters. The doorway from the church into the cloisters can still be seen. On the opposite side, an arcade of round pillars and arches which would have opened into the north aisle. One of the Norman clerestory windows survives above one of the arches.

St Leonard's Priory, Stamford

The inner wall was built in the C19th in the Neo-Norman style with a doorway leading into the building.

St Leonard's Priory, Stamford

The priory was built on the eastern outskirts of Stamford, near the River Welland. It is surrounded by grass and trees and is in the care of Stamford Civic Society. The grounds are open to the public and with plenty of seats is a lovely spot to drop out. The building is not normally open apart from Heritage Open days.

There is no parking at the priory although Morrisons Car park is a few minutes walks away. The post code is PE9 2EU and the grid reference is
TF 039074 .

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