Thursday 06 July
Depart: Parkinson Steps: 09.00
Arrive: Parkinson Steps: 19.00
Even in Yorkshire, with its many surviving monastic sites, Mount Grace Priory and Guisborough Priory are both very special, significant for their setting, as well as for their physical remains.
Mount Grace Priory is the best preserved and most accessible of the nine English medieval Carthusian charterhouses, and one of the most intensively researched in Europe. The last monastery to be established in Yorkshire before the suppression, it retains the well-preserved ruins of its church, the individual cells of its choir-monks and lay-brothers, and the guest houses and service ranges of the inner court. The site was substantially excavated between 1968-71 by Lawrence Keen and between 1985-92 by Glyn Coppack, providing exceptional evidence for the reconstruction of a single monk’s cell and its garden to demonstrate the setting of late medieval Carthusian life.
The great Augustinian priory of Gyseburn or Guisborough was one of the earliest Augustinian houses to be established in England. Founded in about 1119 by Robert de Brus, the greatest Norman lord in north-east England, and richly endowed, it became one of the greatest Yorkshire monasteries. At its suppression in 1540, it was the fourth richest house in Yorkshire. Its buildings, now reduced to fragments, evidence building campaigns of the 12th, 13th, and 14th centuries. In the 1860s, the then owner Admiral Thomas Chaloner excavated much of the church and recovered a great amount of architectural spolia, still displayed on the site. In 1985, English Heritage undertook an exploratory excavation in the nave of the church in advance of conservation work, which lead to a major excavation in 1985-86 by Dave Heslop, and the architectural detail recovered by Admiral Chaloner was recorded and analysed between 1986 and 1995 by Stuart Harrison, and displayed on site. The site is now managed by the Gisborough Priory Project, who provide volunteers to open and manage the site.
This excursion will be led by Glyn Coppack (Archaeological and Historical Research), and Stuart Harrison (Ryedale Archaeology Services, Pickering). A packed lunch will be included.
For more information on the sites, please visit www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/mount-grace-priory/ and www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/gisborough-priory/.