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Usk (Priory)

also known as: Cairusk; Brynbuga

Order: Benedictine

The priory of St Mary's, Usk, was famed for its shrine of St Radegund and became a popular pilgrim site. The original community comprised five nuns but numbers later rose to thirteen. At the turn of the fifteenth century Adam of Usk maintained that only maidens of noble birth were received at the priory; several of his relatives had taken the veil details of standing remains

Dedicated to: Mary Medieval Diocese: Llandaff
Lordship at foundation: Striguil
Access: Public
Owned by: Representative Body of the Church in Wales

Main events in the history of this site

pre 1135Foundation - Richard de Clare settled Benedictine nuns at Usk before 1135. [1 source]
pre 1176Concessions - Richard Strongbow, 2nd Earl of Pembroke (d. 1176) granted an important charter to the priory. [2 sources]
1246Election - The community received licence to elect a new prioress.  [3 sources]
1284Visitation - Visitation conducted by Archbishop Pecham. [3 sources]
c.1291Wealth - According to the Taxatio of 1291 the priory had twenty-four acres of arable and its temporalities and spiritualities totalled £42 6s.  [2 sources]
1322Patronage - Edward II granted the patronage of the house to Hugh Despenser the Younger (d. 1326), together with the advowsons of Caerleon (Llantarnam) Abbey. [2 sources]
1330Confirmation - Elizabeth de Burgh confirmed an important charter granted to the house by Richard Strongbow. [2 sources]
c.1360Bequest - Elizabeth de Burgh (lady Clare) left the nuns £6 13s 4d and two cloths of gold. [1 source][1 archive]
1404Papal indulgences - Adam of Usk requested the pope that indulgences be granted to attract alms to St Radegund’s chapel at Usk Priory which had been devatsated by warfare. [4 sources]
1440Burial - Adam of Usk, writer and lawyer, was buried at the house. [1 source]
1514Burial - William Bakere willed to be buried before an image of "Blessed Mary of the Priory."  [1 source]
1516Disputed election - There was a tussle between Joan Harryman and Catherine Kemmys over the office of prioress.  [2 sources][1 archive]
c.1535Wealth - On the eve of the Dissolution the net income of the house, according to the Valor Ecclesiasticus, was £55. [2 sources][1 archive]
1536Dissolution - In June 1536 the priory was surveyed and on 29 August it was dissolved. At this time the prioress, Ellen Williams, resided with five other nuns; she was granted a pension on 28 June.  [6 sources]
+ 12 minor events. Show minor events

People associated with this site

Adam of Usk , chronicler (burial)

Edmund Mortimer , fifth earl of March and seventh earl of Ulster (patron)

Elizabeth de Burgh; Elizabeth de Clare , magnate and founder of Clare College, Cambridge (patron)

Hugh Despenser (the Younger) , first Lord Despenser (patron)

John Pecham; Peckam; Peckham , Archbishop of Canterbury (conducted visitation)

Prioresses of Usk

Richard de Clare , lord of Clare, Tonbridge, and Ceredigion (founder)

Richard de Clare; Richard fiz Gilbert , second earl of Pembroke [earl of Striguil] (confirms important charter)

Richard of York , third duke of York (patron)

Bibliographical sources

33 Printed sources

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5 On-line sources

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Archival sources

The National Archives, 'Exchequer: Miscellaneous Ecclesiastical Documents,cause over office of prioress, Usk Priory', (Document), (View website)

Related articles on Monastic Wales

Remnants of Usk Priory,
Who were the Benedictines?, Professor Janet Burton

Images of this site

Chancel, priory church of St Mary, Usk

Nave, Priory Church of St Mary, Usk

North Porch, Priory Church of St Mary, Usk

Priory Church of St Mary, Usk

Priory Church of St Mary, Usk

Rood Screen

Seal of Usk Priory

West porch of the priory church of St Mary, Usk

West porch of the priory church of St Mary, Usk

Monmouthshire, OS Grid:SO37910077
View site details on COFLEIN (RCAHMW database)[new window]