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Brief description of site

The house known as Watton Abbey is the remnant of an important Gilbertine priory. After the Reformation it became a private house and the grounds, including the site of other monastic buildings, were laid out as gardens, adding another layer of history to the landscape. A formal avenue linking the Beverley-Driffield Road to the gardens was planted in the 19th century.

Brief history of site

Watton Priory, founded around 1150, was the largest house of the Gilbertine order in England. The priory surrendered to the Crown at the Dissolution in 1539, and the building known as the Prior’s Lodging became a private house. By the mid-17th century the priory site was in the hands of Heneage Finch, 2nd Earl of Winchilsea. He was heavily in debt, and in 1672 the estate was sold to William Dickinson, the earl’s principal creditor and London agent. The estate passed to the Bethell family through the marriage of Sarah Dickinson. Richard Bethell, who inherited the Rise and Watton estates on the death of Charlotte Bethell, began rebuilding Rise Hall in 1815 and the house at Watton was thereafter let to tenants.

Location information:

Address: Watton Abbey, TA 023498

Locality: Hutton Cranswick

Local Authorities:

East Riding of Yorkshire; Watton

Historical County: East Riding of Yorkshire

OS Landranger Map Sheet Number: 107 Grid Ref: TA023498
Latitude: 53.9342 Longitude: -0.443278

Key information:

Form of site: garden

Purpose of site: ornamental garden

Context or principal building: country house

Site first created: After 1815

Main period of development: Early 19th century

Survival: Extant

Site Size (Hectares): 6.5

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