St Nicholas Priory

Exeter, United Kingdom

St Nicholas Priory


The Benedictine Priory of St Nicholas or just St Nicholas Priory was a Benedictine monastery founded in Exeter, England, in 1087. At the Dissolution of the Monasteries the church and chapter house range were pulled down but the domestic buildings were left intact. Parts of the north and west ranges of the monastery survive with the west range now being a museum owned by Exeter Historic Buildings Trust.

In 1068, William the Conqueror laid siege to Exeter, where the mother of Harold Godwinson, whom he had just defeated in the Battle of Hastings, was living. After her hasty departure William gave the church of St Olave at Exeter to Battle Abbey. Monks, who were sent from Battle to administer the church and its possessions, set about building a monastery with its own church, which was dedicated to Saint Nicholas in 1087. In the 12th and 13th centuries the Priory gathered gifts of land and property and new monastic buildings were erected as funds permitted. Hospitality was built into the monastic rule and a guest house or wing was essential within a monastery. The monks provided hospitality for pilgrims and other travellers and accommodation for important guests.

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