Woodspring Priory and Barn
VISIT TO WOODSPRING PRIORY
On Tuesday evening, 1lth June 1982, a party of 26 members visited Woodspring Priory for a conducted tour led by the warden, Mr Chris Crook.
The weather was not very co-operative but in spite of the cold and drizzle, we spent a most interesting and enjoyable evening. Mr Crook described the original lay-out of the Priory and gave us an outline of its history.
The Priory, then called Worspring was founded in the early l3th century by William de Courtenay, a descendant of one of the murderers of St. Thomas Becket. The Priory seal shows the martyrdom of the archbishop beneath the tower of Canterbury. After the desolation in 1536 the Priory became a secular residence and farm in the hands of various families and was even used as a golf club at the end of the l9th century. The coastline and estate were acquired by the National Trust in 1968 and subsequently the Priory passed into the care of the Landmark Trust.
Mr Cook showed us the restoration work done so far and we had a unique opportunity to see outlines of further ancient buildings in the paddock beyond the cloisters. We were told these outlines would vanish again after a couple of wet days. They were not even visible in the drought year then the whole area was parched to the same degree.
Those who made it to the top if the tower enjoyed a brief spell when the rain stopped! Unfortunately visibility was too poor to see very far bur Mr Crook pointed out various features and entertained us with quite a few anecdotes.
Several of us bought the interesting guide book 25p and copies of the seal at 35p each as mementos of our visit.