Remains of Lenton Priory

Remains of Lenton Priory

ONLY a few stones scattered here and there in the gardens and walls of Lenton are left to remind us of what was once one of the greatest and most important religious houses in the Midlands.

The picture shows us what is probably the most spectacular relic of this wonderful establishment, representing the remains of a Norman column left derelict in a garden in Old Church-street.

The Cluniac Priory of Lenton was founded some time between 1103 and 1108 by William Peveril, the Norman baron to whom, some 20 years before, William the Conqueror had entrusted the task of constructing Nottingham Castle.

Amply endowed by its founder, Lenton Priory rose to a position of great opulence and wealth, and so large were its resources that upon half-a-dozen occasions the reigning king of England was entertained as guest within its walls.

Its story throughout the Middle Ages is far too intricate to enter into here, but its existence was terminated in 1539 by the surrender of its property into the hands of King Henry VIII. The tradition is that Nicholas Heath, the last Prior, was hanged for his share in the Pilgrimage of Grace, outside the Abbey Gate which crossed the road just opposite the White Hart.

The estates of the convent were granted by Henry VIII. to Sir Michele Stanhope, who also obtained the estates of Shelford Priory and so established the connection of the Stanhopes (who afterwards became the Earls of Chesterfield) with this neighbourhood.