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Kirkham Priory: undefined areas S of S transept, Yorkshire, East Riding

(54°4′55″N, 0°52′35″W)
Kirkham Priory: undefined areas S of S transept
SE 736 657
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Yorkshire, East Riding
now North Yorkshire
medieval York
now York
  • Rita Wood
13 Apr 2007, 20 and 27 May 2016

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Feature Sets

This report includes the slype and an area immediately S of that, and a doorway at an upper level in the area of the dormitory and refectory junction:

For the slype, there are two narrow walled areas are seen adjacent to the S exterior wall of S transept. These are the usual monastic slype, and an enclosed rectangular area between that and the thirteenth-century chapter house. Seating has been identified in both these areas.

S of the 13thc. chapter house, at an upper level between dormitory and refectory blocks and only seen from the E side, are the partial remains of a blocked doorway with a plain lintel, all flush with the walling. The wall is dated to the earlier 12thc. phase, but not assigned to any particular building. There is no sculpture or mouldings.

For History, and further Bibliography, see report for Kirkham Priory, church.


Interior Features

Interior Decoration

String courses

Sir Charles Peers (1980, 8) says ‘On the east side [of the cloister], next to the transept, is a passage through the eastern range, belonging to the first layout, its eastern wall being on the line of that of the first dormitory, the traces of which may be seen further to the south.’ However, it is not correct that the passage (the slype) belongs to the first layout, since it has been shown by excavation that its E and S walls are contemporary with the rebuilding of the church c.1180 (Coppack, pers. comm. 2016). Peers continues: ‘Immediately south of the passage is an irregular space, bounded on the south by the thirteenth-century chapter house: it must represent part of the site of the twelfth-century chapter house’.

Coppack et al. 1955, 65, describe the S transept gable wall as having the remains of a wall bench against its outer face below the string course. ‘This bench may have been part of the original chapter-house, as suggested by the elaborate ashlar work with double-chamfered string course and chamfered base found on the south face of the south transept wall’. The bench on this wall is ‘contemporary with the first phase stone church’ (Coppack, pers. comm. 2016).

There is no evidence from loose stonework that the string course had also been present on the W wall of the transept; the remains at ground level are ‘not the foundation of the gable wall’ (Coppack, pers. comm. 2016). It is for these reasons that the string course is described as an interior feature in this report rather than as an exterior feature in the report for the church.

The visible seating to the S, against the 13thc. chapter house, is thought to date from about 1180 and to have been for the parlour. The wall forming the back of the seating is thought to be ‘the north wall of a second phase chapter house which lasted until about 1230.’ (Coppack, pers. comm. 2016). Harrison 2000, 8, says ‘on the east side of the cloister … there is a slype or passage adjoining the church, and a small narrow room with a stone bench which may have served as the parlour.’


G. Coppack, S. Harrison and C. Hayfield, “Kirkham Priory: the architecture and archaeology of an Augustinian house”. Journal of the British Archaeological Assocation 148, 1995, 55-136

S. Harrison, Kirkham Priory,North Yorkshire. English Heritage. London 2003.

C. Peers, Kirkham Priory. Reprint HMSO 1980.