Blythburgh Priory

Blythburgh Priory was a medieval monastic house of Augustinian canons, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, located in the village of Blythburgh in Suffolk, England. Founded in the early 12th century, it was among the first Augustinian houses in England and began as a cell of St Osyth's Priory in Essex. Although it acquired a conventual life of its own, its community was always small and in some respects maintained dependency upon the parent house. It was earmarked for closure by Cardinal Wolsey during the late 1520s but survived his fall and continued until dissolution in 1536.

Although it stood near the medieval parish church of the Holy Trinity, Blythburgh, renowned landmark overlooking the estuary of the river Blyth, the Priory was a separate group of structures with its own large Norman church and conventual buildings in stone. While it is important to distinguish between the (lost) church of the priory, and the (existing) parish church, the connection between the two sites may have its roots in pre-Conquest times.

The priory ruins have been known to county historians for centuries, but they became overgrown and neglected during the 20th century, standing in the grounds of a private residence where public access was discouraged. They have been the subject of various campaigns of investigation in recent years, and are now carefully preserved and remain in private ownership. A great deal of information about the priory's patrons, its charters, estates and temporalities, can be derived from the surviving Priory Cartulary, edited by Christopher Harper-Bill, and from related records.

A special aspect of the priory's topographical interest lies in its association with a far older phase of East Anglian history. For various reasons it is believed to have had a connection with the 7th century Anglo-Saxon King Anna of the East Angles (died A.D. 653 or 654), a Christian ruler who died defending his kingdom in battle. According to the 12th-century ''Liber Eliensis,'' Blythburgh was then believed to have been his burial place, and that of his son Jurmin. Provided by Wikipedia
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