Monk Bretton Priory
Monk Bretton Priory
A very complete medieval monastic site located on the outskirts of Barnsley, home of a 12th century Cluniac priory. Monk Bretton was established around 1154 by Adam Fitz Swane, as a daughter house of St John's in Pontefract. However, in 1281 the monks quarrelled and Monk Bretton seperated from the Cluniac order to become a Benedictine priory instead!
Quite a bit of the monastery remains, including the cloister, west range, and the 15th century gatehouse. The west range in particular is almost complete and unaltered. Little of the church remains, barring the south transept. The remains of the priory kitchen and bakehouse stand to the south of the refectory. Nearby are the visible remains of two fishpods maintained by the monks as a steady source of food.

Monks Bretton was suppressed by Henry VII in 1539. After the Dissolution, the priory became home to the Armyne and Talbot familioes, and a private dwelling was created from the old prior's lodging. The gatehouse was used as a dwelling, and later as a barn for the nearby grange.

The priory is cared for by English Heritage, but is aided by the Friends of Monk Bretton Priory, a charitable organization devoted to promote the priory to visitors. The Friends website gives further details of the priory's history, plus useful visitor information.