Llanthony Secunda Priory
Gloucester GL2 5QT
Hidden in the middle of Gloucester’s canal side industrial landscape are the remains of an ancient Augustinian priory.
This Ancient Monument is now a park and pleasant picnic spot. The old Victorian cattle pond is now a nature reserve and parts of the grounds are reserved for wildflowers.
The ruins consist of the priory gateway, remains of the half-timbered brick and stone farmhouse and a splendid 15th century double entry tithe barn. The roofless barn is ten bays long and was used to store the crops produced on the Llanthony estate.
During the summer months the park is occasionally the venue for historical re-enactments and open-air theatre. Contact the Gloucester TIC for forthcoming events.
The site’s heritage status ensures its continuing existence despite the surrounding Gloucester Quays redevelopment.
The first Llanthony Priory was built near Abergavenny in Wales (Llanthony Priory Prima). It was seized by Welsh rebels in 1136 forcing the prior and 20 canons to flee. They sought refuge from Miles of Gloucester who gave them land near his castle. By 1140 Llanthony Secunda (second) Priory was established with stately stone buildings, gardens and vineyards.
The Priory became the sixth richest religious house in England. Miles and his powerful descendants (they were the Constables of England) were buried in the priory church for ten generations. The 'Constable' was responsible for the peace of the realm, and acted as commander-in-chief of the armed forces.
Royalty were regular visitors – King Henry II in 1241, King Edward II in 1327, and Queen Eleanor gained permission to walk in the garden while living in Gloucester Castle in 1277. John of Gaunt, protector of the boy King Richard II, made the priory his headquarters during the Gloucester parliament of 1378, and in 1381 Thomas of Woodstock stayed with 200 armed men!
In 1501 King Henry VIII visited and elevated the Prior to Archbishop of Canterbury, but even this didn’t save the monastery from dissolution in 1538. The community was dispersed in 1540, the buildings were sold off to private owners but the church became a parish church.
During the Civil War, Llanthony became a Royalist stronghold from where the city was besieged in 1643. In the ensuing battle the old priory buildings and the church sustained direct hits from the Barbican’s cannon.
Around 1670 the timber-studded residence was converted into a farmhouse and the remaining outer buildings converted into stables and barns.
The church and cloisters had disappeared by the 18th century and the foundations later destroyed with the cutting of the Gloucester & Sharpness Ship Canal and the coming of the Great Western Railway.
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Open all year
None on site
Contact & Further Information
+44 (0)1452 396 572
Follow the signs to Historic Gloucester Docks.Turn right into Llanthony Road and cross the canal by the old Llanthony lift bridge. Just follow Llanthony road until you reach the park.
Google Maps - Llanthony Secunda Priory