Lenton Priory

Lenton Priory was a Cluniac house founded by William Peverel in the early 12th century. The exact date of foundation is unknown but 1102 is frequently quoted.

Cluniac Priory

It was sited 1½ miles south-west of Nottingham and its dedication was to the Holy Trinity. One early gift was from Philip Marc, King John's sheriff in Nottingham to look after his body and soul in the 13th century.

The Priory continued its work for 430 years, there being twenty to thirty monks in residence at a time and it is estimated that about one thousand men passed through the Priory in four centuries. It was the tenth richest Priory in England and the wealthiest in the Midlands. Its endowments included the three churches in Nottingham, St. Mary's, St. Peter's and St. Nicholas.

The Valor Ecclesiasticus of 1534 gives the gross income as £387 10s. 10½d (£150,000 as of 2011),

Prior Heath was thrown into prison in February 1538. In March the prior with eight of his monks and four labourers of Lenton were indicted for treason and executed.

Priors of Lenton
Lenton Fair

In 1164 the Priory received a charter to hold a fair, and this was the main fair for Nottingham people for trade, larger even than the Nottingham Goose Fair. It would begin on 11 November and run for eight days. (For some seventy years in the 13th century the fair's duration was extended to twelve days).

While Lenton's fair was on, no market could be held in Nottingham and such was its size that many of Nottingham's shopkeepers and traders came to the Fair in order to stock up their own shelves.

The Fair continued after the demise of the Priory, though its length was gradually reduced. Its emphasis slowly changed and in the 17th century it appears to have acquired a reputation as a great fair for all sorts of horses. In the 19th century it was largely frequented by farmers and horse dealers. The Fair finally ceased at the beginning of the 20th century.

More recently

The area was bought by William Stretton in 1802 and he built a large house called "The Priory". William was interested in antiquities and he is known to have removed old architectural materials whilst his house was being constructed. The funds for the house may well have come from the buildings that he and his father built in the Nottingham area. When William died he left the house to his son Sempronius. Colonel Sempronius Stretton died in 1842 and left the house to his brother Severus William Lynam Stretton. Neither of the sons regarded the Priory as home and Severus sold the house and it was bought by the Sisters of Nazareth in 1880. The Sisters of Nazareth sold up in the early years of the twenty-first century, and the site was re-developed for housing.

Remains of Lenton Priory today
  • Priory Church of St. Anthony, Lenton (founded about 1170 as the chapel of St Anthony's hospital which stood in the courtyard of the priory)
  • Fragment of stone column where Old Church Street meets Priory Street
  • The 12th century font survives in Holy Trinity Church, Lenton.
  • Floor tiles in Nottingham Castle Museum.
  • Stained glass in Nuthall Church.