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Chicksands Priory

A Grade I Listed Building in Chicksands, Central Bedfordshire

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Latitude: 52.0407 / 52°2'26"N

Longitude: -0.3661 / 0°21'57"W

OS Eastings: 512165

OS Northings: 239294

OS Grid: TL121392

Mapcode National: GBR H4S.47T

Mapcode Global: VHFQP.LYVZ

Plus Code: 9C4X2JRM+7H

Entry Name: Chicksands Priory

Listing Date: 10 January 1985

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1137590

English Heritage Legacy ID: 37571

Location: Chicksands Priory, Central Bedfordshire, SG17

County: Central Bedfordshire

Civil Parish: Campton and Chicksands

Built-Up Area: Chicksands

Traditional County: Bedfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Bedfordshire

Church of England Parish: Campton

Church of England Diocese: St.Albans

Tagged with: English country house

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Chicksands Priory


Country house, incorporating remains of a Gilbertine priory. The priory, a
double house of the order of Gilbert of Sempringham (the only medieval
religious order of English origin), founded c.1150 by Rose and
Payn de Beauchamp. Only about 11 such houses were founded, Chicksands being
about the 3rd largest with 55 canons and 120 nuns. Surviving remains are C13
and C15. Dissolved 1539. Granted first to Richard and Elizabeth Snowe,
passed soon (by 1587) into the possession of the Osborn family, who held it
until 1938 when it became Crown property. Altered c.1735-40 by Isaac Ware for
Sir Danvers Osborn. Reworked 1815 (and possibly earlier) by James Wyatt in
Gothic Revival style for Sir George Osborn. Coursed limestone, completely
rendered to exterior, with ashlar dressing. Later blocks red brick with
ashlar dressings. Clay tile roofs hipped at SW and SE corners. Principal
block is reworking of the south cloister of the priory, and retains
quadrangle. Later C19 addition and service wing to N, forming S and E sides
of a stable courtyard. 2 storeys and attics. Main block: E elevation has
quatrefoiled moulded eaves cornice and 3-stage set back buttresses rising to
pinnacles. Evenly spaced range of 7 windows, all of 2 trefoiled lights under
4-centred heads with hood moulds, imitating some of the original priory
windows. To LH, ground floor has single light, above which is C15 canted
oriel window containing fragments of medieval glass. Single-storey porch
below central window has pointed arched doorway and ornate embattled parapet
and pinnacles. S and W elevations are stylistically similar, with pinnacled
buttresses, S elevation with same eaves cornice. S elevation has unevenly
spaced first floor windows, again copies of a C15 original, and a central
canted bay to ground floor with pointed arched windows and doorway which have
intersecting glazing bars. W elevation has irregular fenestration, mostly of
2 and 3-lights under square heads, with 6 hipped dormers to attic. Variety of
chimneys, mostly ridge stacks. Later N block: To E elevation this has mostly
windows of 2 4-centred arched lights under flat heads. The projecting crow-
stepped gable has canted bay, corbelling out to a rectangular bay at first
floor. N of this is 4-centred archway into stable courtyard. Multiple ridge
stacks with diagonal shafts. At N end is late Cl8 block which has blocked
pointed-arched openings. Elevations overlooking stable courtyard have mostly
simple mullion and transom windows, gabled dormers, and doorways with 4-
centred heads. Pointed arched openings to C18 block. Interior: ground floor
of main block retains medieval features. N wall, originally S wall of the
church, has small C13 doorway at W end. W range has 7 bays of double-span
vaulting with central octagonal columns. S range retains 2 C15 windows,
overlooking quadrangle, of 4 lights under 4-centred heads. E range, reworked
by Wyatt in C15 style (and extended westwards into quadrangle) has vaulted
ceiling, broad staircase lit by 3-light quatrefoiled window and crocketed and
canopied niches. First floor decoration mostly early C19 in fairly restrained
style. Variety of foliate plasterwork, carved doors and surrounds, and carved
marble and wood chimney pieces to many of the rooms. To W of N wing is
octagonal room created by Wyatt, with ribbed vaulted ceiling. Large central
room of E wing has polychrome painted decoration in Pompeian style, probably
c.1835 when Thomas Potter MacQueen (MP and collector) was a tenant. To N of W
wing is a gallery, now without decoration. E and S ranges retain medieval
moulded timbers above central rooms, originally open to roof. Scheduled
Ancient Monument.

S. Houfe, "The Builders of Chicksands Priory", Beds Magazine, vol. 16, pp.185-
l89, pp.228-231. V.C.H., (Beds.), vol 2, pp.271-275.

Listing NGR: TL1216539294

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