Monument record CAA 002 - Priory; Ash Abbey

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Scheduled Monument - Augustinian Priory founded in 1195 for 21 nuns by Theobald de Valoines.


Grid reference Centred TM 318 545 (277m by 216m)
Map sheet TM35SW


Type and Period (6)

Full Description

Augustinian Priory founded in 1195 for 21 nuns by Theobald de Valoines. Further endowments by the family of Ufford, Earls of Suffolk during C14 including a chantry in 1347, removed to Bruisyard in 1354 (BUD 001). Suppressed in 1536 (S1).
Surviving Med features in the farmhouse (Ash Abbey), the watermill (S15) and a large barn. Reused stonework in other outbuildings.
1970: Excavation of area of 78 sq m following finds of burials in water pipe trench in 1969. Walls of flint and mortar and an octagonal pier ball found, with areas of glazed floor tiles (S1). Most of the tiles are decorated in relief; others are 'printed', slip brushed & slip stencilled (S2). Excavated burials included a monumental tomb of Purbeck marble, in a stone lined burial chamber dated to the latter part of the C14; 3 Purbeck marble tombstones set at floor level and 1 ? Burwell stone carved slab, not in situ, from an earlier C13 effigy tombstone. Also three skeletons. All burials left in situ; monumental tomb pieces lifted. Previous burial finds recorded include one lead and six stone coffins. Building materials found in excavation include mainly Caen limestone with some greensand and shelly Lincolnshire limestone. Mouldings illustrated. Also bricks, stained glass fragments. Pottery mainly glazed, C16 or later. Leaden bulla of Pope Clement VI, 1342-1352. For full references see (S1).
Some finds from excavation, including floor tiles, pottery sherds, about 20 fragments of mid C13 grisaille glass, given by Mrs H Gascoigne of Ash Abbey. A late C14 brick, presented to Moyses Hall in 1984, measuring 24 x 10.5 x 4 with it reads 'From SE tomb perhaps of Edmund de Offord circa 1375 at Campsey Ash Priory' (S8).
Also see DoE scheduling information (S3).
Building of a swimming pool led to demolition of a primarily C19 dairy building incorporating much regular ashlar of ?Med origin on the N wall (S9). Trial pits by engineers showed the N wall was on Med foundations with evidence for a doorway with a cill c. 87cm below present ground level (S10). Subsequent building trenches showed that a garden wall lies on the footing of the S cloister yard wall and that a substantial building ?frater lies to the S of this, i.e. outside the SAM. This is now partially built over (S11).
1991: A study of 'the barn' located in the north area of the building complex was undertaken in 1991. The barn in part dates from the early history of St Mary's Priory. The barn seems to have formed the western range of the convent's cloister/burial yard and at its northern end abutted onto the south flank wall of the church at its western end. The arly 13th century church and claustral range survives as a fragment to full wall height plus some lower lengths. In late Tudor times the barn was built on old foundations using the abutment wall to the church and flank walls that were ruined. The rebuild used salvaged stones as crude masonry. In the 17th/18th century the heigh was raised by some 900mm. The Queen post trusses, probably incorporating earlier timber may be from the time. Some time in the late 19th century most of the west wall was rebuilt in vented brickwork and on a wider alignment. The wall has been repaired in the 20th century. (S20)
A new boiler house built in 1994 exposed a major Med wall footing running N-S on the probable line of the E cloister yard wall but to the S of the cloister (i.e. outside the SAM)(S12). Further trial holes in connection with heating pipes showed the E cloister wall to be in good condition with a cobbled yard surface to the cloister c. 30cm below present ground level (S13).
1995: Monitoring ground works for planning application C/0156 for an extension to existing house, located stone drain (Med?), part of a stone wall and footing trenches. Details in (S14).
Further monitoring located various remains including two phase E cloister wall, other walls, a walkway and in-situ floor tiles. Details in (S16).

Sources/Archives (26)

  • <R1> (No record type): Pridden J, Topographical Collections in Ipswich Borough Library, 1786.
  • <S1> (No record type): SAU, parish file, site report, T Loader.
  • <S1> (No record type): Sherlock D, 1970, PSIA, 32, 1972,(2), 121-139 (ill).
  • <M1> (No record type): SAM file:.
  • <S2> Article in serial: Keen, L.. 1972. Proceedings of Suffolk Institute of Archaeology 32 (2). 140-151 (ill).
  • <R2> (No record type): Kirby, J.. Kirby, Suffolk Traveller, Bodleian Library, Oxford.
  • <M2> Unpublished document: Suffolk Archaeological Service. Parish file. Parish file: (S10-S14).
  • <S3> Unpublished document: Department of the Environment. Scheduling information.
  • <S4> Bibliographic reference: Victoria County History of Suffolk (Vol I 1911; Vol II 1907). VCH Suffolk, 2, 1907, 112-115.
  • <S5> Bibliographic reference: Suffolk Institute of Archaeology. Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology. Archaeology in Suffolk, PSIA, 32, 1970, (1), 94.
  • <S6> Index: Ipswich Museum. IPSMG card. IPSMG, cards Campsea Ash Priory, 1970 & 1974.
  • <S7> Index: Ipswich Museum. IPSMG card. IPSMG, card 1971-131, 1971.
  • <S8> (No record type): BSEMH, card 1984-10/61, 1984.
  • <S9> (No record type): SAU, photo AWF 07.
  • <S10> (No record type): SAU, parish file, site report, 17 December 1984.
  • <S11> (No record type): SAU, parish file, site report, 28 October 1985.
  • <S13> Unpublished document: Boulter, S.. 1994. Eval report. Campsea Ashe Priory, Campsea Ashe.
  • <S14> Unpublished document: Loader, T.. 1995. Archaeological Monitoring: Groundworks for an extension to Ashe Abbey House, Campsea Ashe Priory.
  • <S15> Bibliographic reference: CBA. Council for British Archaeology Group 7 Bulletin. CBA Industrial Archaeology Report Card.
  • <S16> Unpublished document: Boulter, S.. 1995. Excavation and Monitoring of pipe trenches at Campsea Ash Priory.
  • <S17> Photograph: Air Photographs. NAU, TM 318 544, JFW 10-13, JGA 1 & JFZ 15-16, 20 July 1992.
  • <S17> Digital archive: Historic England. National Record Of the Historic Environment.
  • <S18> Article in serial: Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History. Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History. PSIAH, 38 (3), 1995, p.351.
  • <S18> Unpublished document: Department of the Environment. 1984. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. MHLG (Prov List) Deben RD Suffolk 1949 p18.
  • <S19> Unpublished document: Department of the Environment. 1984. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. DOE Listed Buildings Dist of Suffolk Coastal Suffolk 25.10.84 p9.
  • <S20> Unpublished document: Weller, J. B.. 1991. Study of 'The Barn', Ashe Abbey.

Finds (12)

Protected Status/Designation

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (3)

Record last edited

Nov 2 2022 12:03PM

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