Priory Cottages
Priory Cottages
A pair of former monastic buildings now converted into dwellings. There is limited access as both cottages are rented out by the National Trust. South Cottage contains the former great hall of the original priory on this site.
History
The story of Priory Cottages is a bit confusing; the property actually consists of a 14th century manor house and former monastic grange associated with the Abbey of Bec in Normandy. Henry I granted the manor of Steventon to the priory of Notre-Dame de Bonne-Nouvelle in Rouen. Since that priory was a cell of the powerful Abbey at Bec, Steventon became in turn an outlying cell of Bec and was known as Steventon Priory.

Despite the monastic link, no priory church was ever built, and it remained purely a grange. No more than one or two monks lived here, administering the grange and the Steventon estates on behalf of the Abbey. By the end of the 14th century the buildings were leased to tenants. Steventon eventually passed to Westminster Abbey, though again it was never more than a grange, though it was called Steventon Priory. After the Dissolution of the Monasteries the lands were sold, and the property passed through private hands for centuries.

The cottages were purchased and given to the National Trust by the mysterious group of donors known as Ferguson's Gang. No one knows for sure who all the members of the Gang were, but they were responsible for raising money to purchase several historic properties for the Trust and donate them anonymously.

Visiting
Though there are two cottages on the property, only the south cottage is open to the public. Access is by written permission from the tenant (see the National Trust website for full details).