Monument record SUY 002 - St Bartholomew's Chapel; St Bartholomew's Priory

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Chapel of a tiny priory (a cell of Westminster Abbey, returned to the Dean and Chapter after the Dissolution). Listed Building, Scheduled Monument.


Grid reference Centred TL 871 428 (62m by 71m)
Map sheet TL84SE


Type and Period (9)

Full Description

Chapel of a tiny priory (a cell of Westminster Abbey, returned to the Dean and Chapter after the Dissolution). The conventional buildings have disappeared but an annual service was held in the chapel until about 1830; since then it has been used as a barn. For Medieval history see Victoria County History (S8).
Single celled flint and stone building of late C14. Six windows E and W, and two N and S. Diagonal angle buttresses. Original door at W end of S side and later at E end, now blocked. Piscina and two ogee-headed niches on either side of altar. Original roof: no principal rafters but each couple has a collar, two stouts, ashlar pieces and straight braces (S1).
1981: Chapel in good repair on the whole. W end used as storage. E end has fowl incubators filling most of area, but this has not caused any detriment to the building (S1).
Granted to Westminster in mid C12. Site of original C12 buildings destroyed by fire or demolished in earlier C13 (S5). Priory pulled down in 1779 (S2)(S5 challenges this).
Chapel: early C15, built of uncoursed flint rubble, rectangular single-cell plan with buttresses. Most of window tracery has been lost, but fragments of Perpendicular tracery survive in the E, N & S windows. C14 aisled barn (timber framed) nearby (Listed Grade II*). 6 bays with 2 threshing floors, roof is C17 replacement. Prior's lodging demolished 1779 (S3).
Present timber-framed farmhouse is 15th C. Originally an open hall house with a cross wing but was extended and an upper floor inserted in the 17th C. Further reburishment and extension occurred during the 19th C (S10). For further detail on the architectural history of the farmhouse see (S11).
1991: English Heritage initiative in progress. Medieval roof complete (S4).
For desk-based assessment report see (S5).
2004: Evaluation undertaken in March as part of investigation to determine the extent of surviving buried archaeology at St Bartholomew's Priory. Eight linear trenches were machine exavated to the depth of natural subsoil. Within these trenches only a single ditch of probable Med date, a short length of flint and mortar wall and backfilled pond, both of unknown date, were revealed. Also an area of flint walls and a cobbled surface, which were formerly part of farm outbuildings but which may be Med, were recorded (S6).
2005: A photographic survey was undertaken of St Bartholomew's Chapel, Sudbury. The chapel is a simple single celled building constructed in the late 14th century and part of a small priory founded early in the 12th century. The building is generally in good repair and apart from patching around the openings and the remodelling of the windows is largely unaltered. The changes to the windows were probably necessitated by a combination of decaying soft stonework and possibly the need to create openings able to ventilate the building when it became a barn.
Jan 2011: '14th-century thatched and timber building at St Bartholomew's Priory' destroyed by arsonists. The chapel and farmhouse survive (S9).

Sources/Archives (14)

  • --- Unpublished document: Breen, A.. 2001. Desk-based Assessment Report. St Bartholomew's Priory, Sudbury.
  • --- Unpublished document: Aitkens, P.. 2001. St Bartholemews Priory, Sudbury: Towards and Environmental Impact Assessment.
  • <S1> Unpublished document: Department of the Environment. Scheduling information.
  • <S2> (No record type): Hodson W W, `Saint Bartholomew's Priory, Sudbury, PSIA, 7, pri 1889, 17- 22, ill.
  • <S3> (No record type): Listed Building notes, 1990.
  • <S4> (No record type): Suff Pres Soc (Paul Edwards) survey, table of results.
  • <S6> Unpublished document: Sommers, M.. 2004. Archaeological Evaluation Report. St Bartholomew's Priory, Sudbury.
  • <S7> Unpublished document: Gill, D.. 2005. Archaeological Building Survey Report. St Bartholomew's Chapel, Sudbury.
  • <S8> Bibliographic reference: Victoria County History of Suffolk (Vol I 1911; Vol II 1907). VCH of Suffolk, Vol II, 1907,123-4.
  • <S9> Article in serial: East Anglian Daily Times. Sat, Jan 22, 2011.
  • <S9> Digital archive: Historic England. National Record Of the Historic Environment.
  • <S10> Source Unchecked: RCHME?. Various. Field Investigators Comments. F1 JHO 09-SEP-50.
  • <S11> Unpublished document: Philip Aitkens. 2009. St Bartholemews Priory, Sudbury: The Farmhouse. A statement of significance on a historic building and its context.
  • <S11> Source Unchecked: RCHME?. Various. Field Investigators Comments. F2 NKB 30-JAN-75.

Finds (2)

Protected Status/Designation

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (6)

Record last edited

Mar 5 2021 11:49AM

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