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Donnington Priory

Donnington Priory, Oxford Road
Newbury, Berkshire RG14 2JE United Kingdom

There is some confusion over both the monastic allegiance and date of origin of Donnington Priory (or Friary). It is believed that the Priory was built by by Sir Richard Abberbury in 1393, and was one of 12 houses of the Maturines, or Friars of the Order of the Holy Trinity, also known as the Order of Ingham, after the chief house in Norfolk.

The first documented reference to the house of the Crutched Friars at Donnington occurs in 1404, and there is a cast of an imperfect impression of a 15th century seal of this priory in the British Museum. In 1500 there is a record of the minister of the Hospital being buried in the new chapel of Jesus on the south side of the church of the Friars of the Holy Cross in Donnington. Further information about this small house is very meagre until Dissolution; Henry White, Minister of the House of Friars and ‘an extreme aged man’ surrendered to John London on 30th November 1538 (or 1539?), having been granted his pension.The Priory was suppressed and its revenues confiscated, but it does not seems to have been very wealthy: London wrote to Thomas Cromwell about “the Crowche Fryers besyd Newberye” where the plate was ‘no more than a poor chalice’.

A succession of private owners took on the property – Queen Elizabeth I owned and leased it in the late 16th century. After the Civil War, when the house was deserted by its royalist owners, the Cowslades became possessors. They erected the present building in 1655. The auction house Dreweatt Neate obtained the house in 1978, and altered and extended the buildings. There is no apparent sign of monastic remains in the landscaped gardens and the Ordnance Survey Field Investigator in the 1960s considered that there was no re-used material in the house. The chapel seems to have been completely destroyed during the Civil War.

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