Monument record BSE 014 - Babwell Friary; Fornham Priory; The Vinery

Please read our .


Scheduled Monument - Babwell Friary. Franciscan Friary, founded 1263, dissolved 1538.


Grid reference Centred TL 85 66 (196m by 284m)
Map sheet TL86NE


Type and Period (6)

Full Description

Babwell Friary.
Franciscan Friary, founded 1263, dissolved 1538. Two bridges over R Lark. The remaining undeveloped areas of the site of a small Franciscan friary founded just outside Bury in 1263. The N half of the scheduled area is a rough field and includes a fishpond and earthworks (and a World War II pill box). The other half is garden and includes part of the church, cemetery and claustral wall. There are remains of the Friary wall along the bank which bounds the site on the NE and remains of a mural bridge at the E end. All the various known features are marked & described on the OS record cards (S1)(S2).

April 1962: A S Phillips describes precinct walls & discovery of footings on N side during construction of housing estate & position of blocked gateway. Also states Alerman Olly of Fornham (Babwell) Priory `possesses a plan undated but probably early C19. It shows the foundation of the church centred at TL 8507 6604 with those of several other buildings on the N side'. These were plotted on OS card (S2).

1985: Excavations by SAU in advance of 1st hotel extension, single inhumation and remains of a substantial E-W wall, subsequently interpreted as ?S wall of church nave.

1989: Geophysical survey in January (details in file) followed by excavations by SAU in advance of 2nd hotel extension. Inhumations, small area of tile and wall footings beneath building suggesting a church. To the NE under a carpark area substantial walls also forming part of church and associated buildings to the N.

July 1990: Additional area of former Friary, including gateway (site of) & NW ?ditch (?date), now largely built over, incorporated in mapped area of site.

1991: Geophysical survey in advance of development at the `Vinery' adjacent to River Lark. Shows possible walls along the W edgeof the site. (see 'Not to be published on web' tab for landowner details).
(N.B. Planning Applications: E/89/2887/P - dwelling `The Vinery'; E/91/ 3067/P (hotel conservatory); E/89/2449/P - 2nd hotel extension; E/84/ 2324P - 1st hotel extension.)

1998: Evaluation by small test trench on area of proposed extension identified a linear feature on the same alignment as the in situ section of the precinct and probably represents a robber trench, excavated for the removal of the wall's foundation. A small oval pit and a small area of mortar patches were also seen (S3)(S6).

2000: Monitoring of footing trenches removed a short length of the precinct wall of thr Franciscan friary. The footing trench for the medieval wall was filled with orixonatl bands of compacted gravel, c.0.4m deep. Other disturbances include one, or more, large pits. The dispaalced head of a human femur is probably evidence of the monk's cemetery known from excavations at the north end of the site (S7).

Sources/Archives (14)

  • <R1> (No record type): Knowles, D. & Hadcock, R.N.. 1953. Medieval Religious Houses: England and Wales (1st ed). Knowles & Hadcock, 1951, 190.
  • <M1> (No record type): SAM file:.
  • <S1> Unpublished document: Department of the Environment. Scheduling information.
  • <R2> Bibliographic reference: Pevsner N & Radcliffe E. 1974. The Buildings of England: Suffolk. Pevsner, 1961, 136.
  • <S2> Index: OS. OS Card. OS, card TL86NE3,4,5 (annotated sketch plan).
  • <M2> Unpublished document: Suffolk Archaeological Service. Parish file.
  • <R3> Bibliographic reference: Messent, C.J.W.. 1934. The Monastic Remains of Norfolk and Suffolk (Use this SFF record). Messent C J W, Mon Rems of Norf & Suff, 1934, 115.
  • <M3> (No record type): Excavation archive:.
  • <S3> Unpublished document: Sommers, M.. 1998. Archaeological Evaluation Report, Babwell Friary (The Priory Hotel), Bury St Edmunds.
  • <S4> Article in serial: Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History. Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History. PSIAH 36 (2) 1986 p151, PSIAH 37(3) 1991 p266.
  • <S5> Article in serial: Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History. Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History. PSIAH, 38 (3), 1995, p.349.
  • <S6> Article in serial: Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History. Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History. PSIAH 39 (3), p.366.
  • <S7> Unpublished document: Tester, A.. 2000. Archaeological Monitoring Report: The Construction of a Breakfast Room, The Priory Hotel, Bury St Edmunds.
  • <S8> Unpublished document: Caruth, J.. 1994. Archaeological Monitoring Report: Babwell Friary, The Vinery, Bury St Edmunds.

Finds (3)

Protected Status/Designation

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (8)

Record last edited

Aug 18 2022 2:04PM

Comments and Feedback

Do you have any more information about this record? Please feel free to comment with information and photographs, or ask any questions, using the "Disqus" tool below. Comments are moderated, and we aim to respond/publish as soon as possible.