White Ladies Priory
White Ladies Priory (often Whiteladies Priory), once the Priory of St Leonard at Brewood, is an English priory, now in ruins, in Shropshire, in the parish of Boscobel, some eight miles (13 km) northwest of Wolverhampton, near Junction 3 of the M54 motorway. It is famous as the first resting place on the escape journey of Charles II of England after the Battle of Worcester during his escape to France in 1651. The name 'White Ladies' refers to the nuns who lived there and who wore white (undyed) habits. The priory was built on the grounds of a medieval nunnery. In 1535, White Ladies Priory was valued at having an annual income of less than £17 and, owing to an Act of Parliament in 1536, it was closed as its annual value was less than the £200 needed to keep the Priory open. White Ladies was not occupied in 1651 by its owners, the Giffard family; it was being run by housekeepers and servants. Among the tenants of the estate were five brothers called Penderell (there had been six but one was killed at the Battle of Edgehill.) They were woodmen and farm servants, living at different places in the neighbourhood and caring for some houses such as White Ladies Priory and Boscobel House, which is about a mile away. Charles Giffard escorted King Charles to White Ladies Priory early on 4 September 1651, after riding through the night after the previous day's battle. They were admitted by George Penderell, a servant of the house, who sent for Richard Penderell, who lived in a farm house nearby, and for their elder brother William, who was at Boscobel. After failing to cross the River Severn, Charles returned to the estate on 6 September and spent the day in the grounds of Boscobel House hiding in the famous Royal Oak. Whilst the large timber-framed nunnery has now gone, the remains of the nunnery's medieval church and the nineteenth boundary wall of the small graveyard still remain. Legend tells that Queen Guinevere retired to White Ladies Priory after King Arthur died. White Ladies is currently under the care of English Heritage.

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