History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
It was damaged by a disastrous fire in 1279 and the priory buildings were never completely rebuilt. It somehow survived until 1538 when it was dissolved by Henry VIII. The priory lands were later granted by Henry to the Neville family.
The Gilbertine order was the brainchild of Gilbert, a priest of Lincolnshire, who desired to make his parish churches at Sempringham and West Torrington open for use by 'the poor and the godly'. He initially wanted to bestow his gift upon a group of religious men, but he could not find any who were willing to live the strict lifestyle he envisaged. Instead, he bestowed his gift upon a group of young women, who set themselves up in a house attached to the church of St Andrew at Sepringham. This anchorage developed to become a priory.
As for Gilbert, he was concerned for the care of the sisters. He introduced lay sisters to help the nuns, and lay brothers to take on the heavier work. In 1147 he asked the Cistercian order to take over his followers. The Cistercians refused. Pope Eugenius III encouraged Gilbert to found a new order, to be called the Order of Sempringham or Gilbertines.
The new order expanded rapidly, and between 1148 and 1154 several houses were added in Gilbert's native Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, and Northumberland. However, though the Gilbertines were popular, they were never rich, certainly not as wealthy as the Cistercians. Henry VI did his best to help them by declaring the order exempt from taxation. The best remaining Gilbertine establishment may well be at Malton, Yorkshire, where the Gilbertine priory was incorporated into the parish church.
Most Gilbertine monastic houses supported both nuns and monks, but there is no evidence to suggest that Mattersey was ever a 'double house'.
About Mattersey Priory
Address: Mattersey, Nottinghamshire, England, DN10 5DF
Attraction Type: Abbey
Location: Located at the end of a minor road 1 mile east of Mattersey, off the B6045. Open access site.
Website: Mattersey Priory
English Heritage - see also: English Heritage memberships (official website)
Photo Credit: Paul Eggleston, licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Licence
Opening Details: Open access site, usually accessible at any reasonable time
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NEARBY HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
Saundby, St Martin's Church - 5.1 miles (Historic Church)
Hodsock Priory - 6.3 miles (Garden)
Gainsborough Old Hall - 6.9 miles (Historic House)
Gainsborough, All Saints - 6.9 miles (Historic Church)
Littleborough, St Nicholas Church - 8.7 miles (Historic Church)
Mr Straw's House - 9.1 miles (Historic Building)
Marton Church - 9.7 miles (Historic Church)
Roche Abbey - 9.7 miles (Abbey)
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