Llanthony Secunda Priory

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Llanthony Secunda Priory was a house of Augustinian canons in the parish of Hempsted, Gloucestershire, England, situated about 1/2 a mile south-west of Gloucester Castle in the City of Gloucester. It was founded in 1136 by Miles de Gloucester, 1st Earl of Hereford, a great magnate based in the west of England and the Welsh Marches, hereditary Constable of England and Sheriff of Gloucestershire (who resided at Gloucester Castle), as a secondary house and refuge for the canons of Llanthony Priory in the Vale of Ewyas, within his Lordship of Brecknock in what is now Monmouthshire, Wales.[1] The surviving remains of the Priory were designated as Grade I listed in 1952[2] and the wider site is a scheduled ancient monument.[3] In 2013 the Llanthony Secunda Priory Trust received funds for restoration work[4] which was completed in August 2018 when it re-opened to the public.[5]

Llanthony Secunda Priory


Remains of Tythe Barn on North Side of Inner Court

In 1135 after persistent attacks from the local Welsh population, the monks of Llanthony Priory retreated to Gloucester where they founded a secondary cell, called Llanthony Secunda.[6][7]

In 1530 the prior of Llanthony at Gloucester sent "cheese, carp and baked lampreys" to King Henry VIII at Windsor. It was customary at the commencement of the fishing season to send the sovereign the first lamprey caught in the river. The intermittent custom of the City of Gloucester to present the sovereign at Christmas with a lamprey pie with a raised crust may have originated in the time of King Henry I, who was inordinately fond of lamprey and who frequently held his court at Gloucester during the Christmas season.[8] At the Dissolution of the Monasteries the priory and its lands near Gloucester were granted by the Crown to Arthur Porter.[9]

Humpty DumptyEdit

During the Siege of Gloucester a Royalist cannon, shipped in from Holland to Bristol and from there to Gloucester, was placed on the walls of Llanthony Secunda and directed at Gloucester's City Wall. It was hoped by the besieging monarch, Charles I, that this cannon would break the siege and win him control of the city. The cannon misfired and exploded on the first shot. Some believe this to be the origin of the Humpty Dumpty nursery rhyme; but this is disputed. The true origins of Humpty Dumpty are unknown but the idea that it refers to the Royalist cannon during the Siege of Gloucester is often cited as fact.[10]

Llanthony Weir and LockEdit

Llanthony has given its name to a weir on the River Severn, which is the normal tidal limit on the East Channel of the river, and the disused Llanthony Lock, both built about 1870.[11] Llanthony Lock was purchased by the Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal Trust in 2008[12] to restore the link between that canal and Gloucester Docks.

Burials at Llanthony Secunda PrioryEdit


  1. ^ Ward, Jennifer C (1995). Women of the English nobility and gentry, 1066-1500. Manchester medieval sources series. Manchester: Manchester University Press. p. 107. ISBN 0-7190-4115-5. Retrieved 25 October 2010.
  2. ^ Historic England. "Llanthony Priory, Remains of Range on south side of Inner Court (1271697)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  3. ^ Historic England. "Llanthony Secunda Priory (1002091)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  4. ^ "Llanthony Secunda Priory gets £311,400 lottery funding". BBC News - Gloucestershire. 29 November 2013. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  5. ^ "You can step inside a Gloucester medieval building that's been hidden to the public for years this weekend". Gloucestershire Live. 24 August 2018. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
  6. ^ Wade, George Wöosung; Wade, Joseph Henry (1930). Monmouthshire. Little Guides (2nd ed.). London: Cambridge University Press. p. 101. Retrieved 30 October 2010. … during the disturbances of Stephen's reign they suffered so much from the raids of the Welshmen, that under the patronage of Milo of Gloucester, Constable of England, and in 1140 Earl of Hereford, they migrated to Gloucester where a new Llanthony was founded for them in 1136.
  7. ^ de Bari, Gerrald (Giraldus Cambrensis) (1191–94). Originally: Itinerarium Cambriae ("Journey through Wales", 1191), Descriptio Cambriae ("Description of Wales", 1194), This edition: The itinerary through Wales, Description of Wales. Everyman's Library (5th (1935) ed.). London: J.M. Dent & Sons. p. 36. Retrieved 30 October 2010. William of Wycumb, the fourth prior of Llanthoni, succeeded to Robert de Braci, who was obliged to quit the monastery on account of the hostile molestation it received from the Welsh.
  8. ^ William Walsh's Curiosities of Popular Customs, 1897
  9. ^ "Gloucester - Outlying hamlets | A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 4 (pp. 382-410)". british-history.ac.uk. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  10. ^ A. Jack, Pop Goes the Weasel: The Secret Meanings of Nursery Rhymes (London: Allen Lane, 2008).
  11. ^ Victoria County History of Gloucestershire: Gloucester Quays and Docks
  12. ^ Canal Restoration at Llanthony Lock Gloucester Archived 2009-09-12 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ George Roberts, Some account of Llanthony Priory, Monmouthshire, London, 1847, Appendix, pp.63 et seq[1]

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 51°51′36″N 2°15′25″W / 51.860°N 2.257°W / 51.860; -2.257