Chepstow in Monmouthshire, Wales, United Kingdom
Chepstow Priory / The Priory Church of St Mary
In 1067 William Fitzosbern, William the Conqueror's cousin established Chepstow Castle, and before his death in 1071 a Benedictine Priory on this site. It was a "daughter-house" to the Abbey he had founded in Cormeilles, Normandy, a town linked again to Chepstow by "twinning" in 1975.
Never large or rich, most of the Priory buildings were demolished following the dissolution of the monasteries ordered by Henry VIII in 1536. A few continued in use as business premises, becoming a brewery in the C19th and the Co-op creamery until 1965, and from the C17th some of the Priory's remaining large cellars were used by wine importers. The Priory occupied the land now used for car parking and the supermarket. During the C19th and early C20th this was largely terraced housing, a school and the livestock market.
An early c.12th stone carving of the crucifixion with Christ flanked by the Virgin Mary and St John. From Chepstow Priory, found during building works in lower Nelson St. In 1917, now in Chepstow Museum. Drawing by Keith Underwood.
Built for the Priory, a place of christian worship for over 900 years. Little is left of the original building, with only the lower half of the West front (facing you), the walls of the nave and the base of a pier that supported the tower surviving. The church was divided, parishioners using the nave and monks the chancel and transepts. After the dissolutions, the nave remained in use, and the rest decayed, resulting in the final collapse of the central tower c.1700. In 1706 a smaller tower in Queen Anne style was built above the original west front with Its Norman carved decoration. In 1841, extensive alterations were made, including the removal of the side aisles. Later this work was considered disastrous, and from 1889 there were nearly two decades of further restoration, including attempts to reverse this earlier damage.
The church, as it may have looked when first completed it was one of the few Norman buildings in Britain with a stone vaulted roof. Drawn by Keith Underwood. View from the southeast.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Architecture • Churches & Religion.
Location. 51° 38.56′ N, 2° 40.367′ W. Marker is in Chepstow, Wales, in Monmouthshire. Marker is on Upper Church Street, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Chepstow, Wales NP16 5HU, United Kingdom. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 1 other marker is within walking distance of this marker. Marten's Tower (about 210 meters away, measured in a direct line).
Credits. This page was last revised on January 27, 2022. It was originally submitted on August 18, 2020, by Ray Gurganus of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 68 times since then and 15 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on August 18, 2020, by Ray Gurganus of Washington, District of Columbia. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.