|Comment||Corner of the charter displaying the initial R, Latin text and illustration depicting the Prioress and nuns adoring the Virgin and Child.|
Esholt Priory (1184-1540) was the Cistercian Priory of St. Leonard, it was a small community of nuns who lived very simply.
They had an income of approximately £19 a year which they supplemented with giving absolution to rich sinners.
Over time they acquired land in the area and sold timber, they acted as teachers to young children and also operated a brewery.
This was so popular with local men that in 1535 the nuns were ordered not to keep an ale house within the grounds of the convent and to keep the doors locked at night.
In common with other Catholic houses and churches the nunnery fell foul of the Reformation and the Priory was closed in 1549/50.
Little evidence remains of it, in the cellars of Esholt Hall are two windows thought to be part of the Priory.
Consolidated by Elaine Ellwood. 02 May 2021.
Last updated: 21 November 2022 – Image updated.