Castle, Site Visits

Wetheral Priory Gatehouse

Wetherall Priory was founded in 1106, the gatehouse however (which appears to be the last remaining building, or at least the most complete) has been modified as late as the 15th century. Red sandstone has been salvaged from various missing monastery buildings, including a chapel and a school, and incorporated into nearby homes and walls, much like at Penrith castle.

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The two string courses indicate different levels in the gatehouse, separating rooms which are believed to be accommodation for a priory official, and perhaps shelter for visitors. An interesting prospect as Wetherall had the right of Sanctuary; people who had committed an offence elsewhere could claim Sanctuary here, they would toll a bell in the priory church and swear to keep the peace. On such a cold day I find it easy to imagine someone seeking shelter here by the fireplace, I wonder how many were hiding from a crime?

P1040836 P1040838I’m imagining the crenellations here are decorative, the spiral staircase went right to the top, but the merlons (pointing up) look too short to hide behind.

P1040842P1040839 Finally, a picturesque scene from the river nearby, the steps on the left are carved directly from the red sandstone they run next to.

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Discussion

One thought on “Wetheral Priory Gatehouse

  1. Lovely photos and descriptions. It’s easy to imagine people warming themselves at the fireplace or looking out the windows. Even the rock cut stairs down to the river look inviting. What a wonderful find! Thanks for sharing.

    Posted by Gayle Mullen Pace | December 5, 2013, 12:15 am

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