We use cookies to improve your experience, some are essential for the operation of this site.

Horton Priory, Kent

(51°6′48″N, 1°0′26″E)
Horton Priory
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Kent
now Kent
  • Toby Huitson
  • Mary Berg
  • Toby Huitson
15 Jan 2005; 12 Oct 2011

Please use this link to cite this page - https://www.crsbi.ac.uk/view-item?i=15631.

Find out how to cite the CRSBI website here.


The Cluniac priory of Horton is one of the few monastic sites in Kent, apart from the two cathedrals, with significant remains above ground. It lies in open countryside about 5 miles NW of Hythe. The priory was probably built in the late 12thc, with alterations in the 14thc to 15thc. Elements of the priory have been incorporated into a substantial private house which owes much of its current appearance to alterations in 1913-14. These features include the lower parts of the W front on the N side; the beginning of the S aisle with a stair turret, and the W range. There are no traces above ground of the N side of the nave, the rest of the church or the claustral ranges and gatehouses. However, several doorways and many reset fragments preserved as decoration indicate that this was a large and richly sculpted site. The fieldworkers are particularly grateful to Mrs Margaret Bonsall for allowing them to visit her beautiful and elegant house for CRSBI.


The priory was founded in 1142 by Robert de Vere, as a dependency of Lewes Priory in Sussex. A Papal bull confirmed this in 1144. It was dissolved in 1536.


Exterior Features

Exterior Decoration


Interior Features


Interior Decoration


The surviving evidence suggests that at least the nave survived through the Middle Ages substantially as it was built in the late 12thc. The sculpture has rich detailing which has a coherent style of roll, quirk and hollow moulding, and palmette capitals. Most of the sculpture seems to have been reserved for the exterior surfaces.

John Newman dates the sculpture on the W doorway to c. 1175. The blind arch to the R of the W doorway may have once formed part of a porch.

For some closely-related material (possibly post-Dissolution spolia from the priory), see the CRSBI site reports for Woodlands Farm and Old Robus, Lyminge.


C. Baily, 'Monks Horton Priory', Archaeologia Cantiana 10 (1876), 81-9. online at:


J. Newman, The Buildings of England, North East and East Kent, Harmondsworth 1969, 382-83.