Monastic Wales.

Event detail for site: Monmouth

c. 1536: Dissolution

The exact date of the priory's suppression is not now known but it was certainly not before the start of June 1536 when the house was still functioning.

The decision to dissolve the house had been taken by the end of June 1536. On 21 June, the president of the Council of Marches (Roland Lee) visited the priory. On this occasion he considered removing the monastery's timber and stone to help with the rebuilding of Monmouth Castle; in the event the material was not used.

Monmouth Priory was seemingly in a ruinous state by the time of its suppression and the community comprised only a monk and a prior and had an estimated income of £56.

The priory's goods were sold on 28 February 1537 and the house was granted to Richard Price and Thomas Perry. The priory church was stripped of lead and left to ruin. The church continued to be used by the parishioners but a wall was built to seal off the east end which had housed the monks' choir and was now redundant.

Bibliographical sources

Printed sources

Monmouth Priory: a History of the Benedictine Priory of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Florent at Monmouth, ed. David H. Williams, Keith E. Kissack with contributions from S.H. Clarke, R.W.D. Fenn, Sian Rees and J.M. Lewis (Monmouth, 2001) p. 30

The Heads of Religious Houses in England and Wales, III, 1377-1540, ed. David M. Smith (CUP: Cambridge, 2008) p. 196

Letters and Papers Foreign and Domestic, of the reign of Henry VIII, 1509-47, 23 in 38 vols, ed. J.S. Brewer, R.H. Brodie and J. Gairdner (London, 1862- 1932) vol. 10, p. 491 (no. 1178)

Medieval Religious Houses, England and Wales, ed. R. Neville Hadcock and David Knowles (Harlow, 1971) pp. 55, 71

Graham, Rose, 'Four alien priories in Monmouthshire', Journal of the British Archaeological Association, 35 (1930) p. 421

Williams, David H., 'Monmouth Priory at the Suppression', Monmouthshire Antiquary, 3: 3 and 4 (1977-8) pp. 189-91

Other events in the history of this site

c.1080Foundation - William the Conqueror confirmed the endowment of the priory before his death in 1086.  [1 sources]
1101Dedication - The church was dedicated by Bishop Hervey of Bangor. [1 sources]
c.1200Proposal to found a daughter-house - Walter de Lacy (d. 1241)apparently took steps to found a daughter-house of Monmouth c. 1200, but his plans did not seemingly come to fruition. [1 sources][1 archives]
1234Compensation - The community sustained damages during the war between Henry III and Richard Marshall but was duly compensated. [2 sources]
1264Financial problems - Geoffrey Moreteau, a capable monk of St Florent, was sent to Monmouth take over as prior of the house, in the hope that he could reverse the priory’s financial problems. [2 sources]
1279Indulgences - In an attempt to alleviate the priory's financial burdens Bishop Thomas de Cantilupe of Hereford issued an indulgence to anyone who visited the priory church of St Mary’s and recited prayers there. [1 sources]
1291Wealth - According to the Taxatio Ecclesiastica of 1291 Monmouth had at this time 480 acres of arable land and the priory’s assized rents totalled £14 6s 8d with the revenue from its courts (‘curial revenue’) totalling 10s.  [2 sources]
1309Sanctuary infringed - A band of armed Welshmen broke into the church, dragged out an escapee from the castle and then murdered him.  [1 sources]
1315Impoverishment - At this time the priory was so greatly impoverished that the abbot of St Florent doubted he would be able to maintain a full convent at Monmouth. [1 sources]
1354Diocesan rights - A case was made for episcopal visitation and procuration.  [1 sources]
1398Papal indulgence - Boniface IX granted an indulgence to pilgrims who visited the priory on great festivals, as well as on the feast day of the dedication and on the feast of the relics. [1 sources]
1403Destruction - The priory suffered losses during the Owain Glyn Dŵr rebellion. [1 sources]
1415Independence - Monmouth achieved independent status and continued as a denizen priory. [2 sources]
c.1531Deprivation - In November 1531 reports of the priory's ruinous state were noted and an investigation was undertaken by the bishop of Hereford. [2 sources]
c.1536Dissolution - The exact date of the priory's suppression is not now known but it was certainly not before the start of June 1536 when the house was still functioning. [6 sources]