Keith's pages:

[ Home page ] - [ About me ]
[ Computing ] - [ Java applets and applications ]
[ School in Siatista, Greece ] - [ pocket sundial ]
[ Litwinczuk ] - [ Lviv ] - [ TUA ]
[ Genus Sedum ] - [ Sedum society ]
[ Historical Architecture ] - [ Bradwell Priory ]

Bradwell Priory

[ Priory ] - [ Niche ] - [ Chapel ] - [ Wall paintings ]

My interest in local history is primarily in the history of
Bradwell Priory which was located at a site now known as
Bradwell Abbey in Milton Keynes, North Buckinghamshire.

The site today

Today, the site comprises a Priory Chapel whose architectural features have barely changed since it was built in c1335, the remains of part of the church wall, wide lines marked in gravel showing where excavations have revealed previous church walls, a farmhouse whose main features date from c1675, and outhouses whose source is medieval, one of which (the tithe barn) was a crook barn built originally in c1350.

Mini history

Bradwell Priory was probably founded in the year 1154 by Meinfelin, the second Baron of Wolverton. The monastery was a Benedictine one and was always very poor.

The monks placed a statue of the Virgin Mary just outside the monastery church to which pilgrims (who were detouring from nearby Watling Street to stay the night) could pray. Many pilgrims prayed for recovery from some ailment.

Some recovered and the statue of the Virgin Mary acquired a reputation for being a miraculous healing shrine.

A niche in the outside church wall was constructed (circa 1285) to hold the statue, and later (circa 1335) a chapel was built around it. Inside the chapel were added wall paintings representing various scenes (circa 1385).

The monastery was so poor it couldn't maintain its buildings and eventually the Pope agreed to it being dissolved (in 1524) when it was given to Cardinal Wolsey.

Cardinal Wolsey had a survey prepared of the whole monastery site. Some of the buildings which were outside the monk's quarters have survived and they can be related to their descriptions in the survey.

The church and the monk's quarters were slowly destroyed but the chapel was retained. The statue was also destroyed and the paintings were hidden with limewash. The limewash has now been removed and many of the paintings, although in poor condition, can again be seen and most scenes can be clearly recognised.

Archaeologists have found the remains of some of the church walls (which has confirmed that the surviving chapel was built against the church) so by using the survey document it is possible to deduce where most of the monastery buildings once stood.

You can contact me at

(Sorry, you can't click on this link.)