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Alberbury Priory

June 18, 202011:03 amLeave a Comment

We are adding many new lists to our online catalogue.  These were previously only available as printed lists onsite or via the National Archives website.

One of these lists is for a small collection relating to the Alberbury Priory, ref 1123.

Alberbury Priory was built between 1221 and 1226 by Fulk Fitz Warin (III) originally as a house of  Arrouaisian canons supported by the Abbey of Lilleshall.  However later abbots renounced all claims in the priory and Fulk placed the house under the authority of the abbey of Grandmont in Limousin, France. 

The priory was known as the ‘New Abbey’ in the middle ages and also the ‘Black Abbey’ due to the black habit of the monks.   Confusingly, however, by the 1500s it was also known as the ‘White Abbey’ on account of the building stone.  References in parish registers indicate that the name of ‘Black Abbey’ and ‘White Abbey’ alternated throughout the 17th century.  You can read more about the etymology on the Survey of British Place Names website.

The foundation charter granted the brethren the site of the priory as well as common rights in Alberbury and Pecknall, a fishery, the right to construct mills but also the manor of Whadborough in Leicestershire. 

Unfortunately because of the position of Alberbury, which spanned the Welsh border as well as ill-defined parish and diocese boundaries, the priory was always in precarious position and land was often in dispute.  For further reading about its early history, check out the Victoria County History vol 2 and in the Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological and Historical Society (both online).

After the act of suppression, the buildings were converted into a house (1578).  When the house was remodelled in 1857-8, five bodies which lay buried before the presbytery steps were discovered. If you are interested in the architecture, then there’s more information on the Shropshire HER.

The farm house at Alberbury with remains of the priory ref 6001/372/2/14A
(Rev Williams’ watercolour)

The online catalogue

You can now browse the catalogue ref 1123 here.

This relatively small collection of 16-19th century papers features leases of the Black Abbey and Pecknalls farm as well as rentals, 1783-1814 and cases relating to rights of way and enclosures.

One interesting document is the account of the Boundaries of the Townships and Thytheings in the Parish of Alberbury in the Counties of Salop and Montgomery ref 1123/24. This includes notes on certain farms, rents and tenants, 1777-1802.

Written by sarahd

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