Wednesday, 20 October 2021

Monk Bretton Priory

There are lots of lovely local walks where we take Archie but sometimes we just fancy going somewhere different, I'm sure Archie appreciates a change of scenery just as much as we do. On Sunday I was looking on the internet for somewhere we hadn't been before and came across Monk Bretton Priory.

Located on the edge of Barnsley in South Yorkshire, it's about a forty minute drive for us.

As you enter the site you come to the Gatehouse which was extensively rebuilt in the fifteenth century.

To the left is the Administrative Building, this is where the monks would have met with visitors. It's a thirteenth century building but the upper floor was rebuilt in the seventeenth century.

Monk Bretton Priory was founded in about 1154 and was originally a monastery under the Cluniac order.

In 1281, after bitter disputes with the Cluniac priory at Pontefract, Monk Bretton seceded from the Cluniac Order and became a Benedictine house.

In 1295, the Priory housed thirteen monks and a prior. The same number were there when it closed in November 1538 during the Dissolution of the Monasteries. 

Although some of the buildings are preserved well, little remains of the church, though there are some medieval grave slabs dotted around. Some of these retain lead lettering whereas others are decorated with crosses.

The cloister buildings are better preserved. Here you can see the high south walls of the monks' refectory with its two windows. The square would have been enclosed and would have linked the various domestic buildings used by the monks.

Here you can see the drains which flushed the latrine block with running water brought from the River Dearne.

There's a good amount of ruins still standing but even where they're not, you can see the markings on the ground of where the buildings would have stood.

The two great windows in the south wall of the monks' refectory.

The west range is almost complete and you're able to stand inside the building and get a real feel for the place with its staircases and nooks and crannies.

The site is now cared for by English Heritage. They do such a good job of looking after our historic buildings, monuments and sites but there's always some who take pleasure in destruction and spoiling things for others. Just look at the state of this information board. Totally senseless. There were bits of rubbish and plastic bags littering parts of the grounds too.

It was a dull day but it was very mild, I didn't need a coat. I like to get out when I can during the later months of the year, you just never know when autumn and winter are going to really settle in and how many fine days we have left.

We certainly got our change of scenery and as dogs are welcome on leads, Archie got a change from his usual haunts too.


  1. We love to get on on fine days at this time of year, making the most of each one, even if it's only in our garden or a walk in our local park. Why do we all love old buildings, walking around piles of bricks, trying to understand how life was in the building.

  2. What a great place to visit, I would love to wander around the ruins. It must have been an impressive building back in those days. You're right about the selfish ones who spoil it for others, what a shame.

  3. I find places like this fascinating. I always try to imagine what life was like living there. I suspect it was a hard life but a fulfilling one! Glad to read that Archie went with you. I hope his leg is better. 🐶 💕

  4. What a great place to explore. It really gives you a feel for the size of the Priory with the buildings marked out on the ground but the ruins look really interesting too.

  5. What a fabulous ancient place - thank you for sharing your visit. I imagine it must have been quite atmospheric there too. (Shame about the vandalism and litter - some people have no respect.)
    Best wishes

  6. Interesting post and pictures. Shame about the information board and litter, so annoying and senseless. xx

  7. You found a different place to take a walk with Archie. The ruins must have a special atmosphere. It's a shame about the litter which spoils these interesting places. Hope Archie is well as I think you mentioned recently he was poorly. You must be looking forward to Eleanor's wedding. Even though it's a long way off the planning will be enjoyable too.

  8. What a lovely place, I love these ancient sites and it makes me sad to see how senseless people can be, what pleasure can they possibly get by vandalising the information boards and leaving their litter everywhere. xx

  9. It's always so good to make the most of dry Autumn days and get out and about. I did enjoy seeing your photographs, it looks an interesting place to visit.

    All the best Jan

  10. Oh they are amazing photos!!! and dogs can go on rope? Wonderfu

  11. I love looking round ancient places like this. A pity about the litter and the information board being defaced - it beats me what pleasure these mindless morons get from doing things like this.

  12. Not too many ancient ruins to view on this side of the pond but I love to read about them and see your photos. ❤️

  13. Looks like you found a lovely new place for a walk, we have so many beautiful places to visit here, even the ruins are interesting.

  14. What a fascinating place. I do love a good ruin. It's so annoying seeing graffiti like that!xxx