Alien houses: The priory of St Winwalloe, Wereham

Pages 465-466

A History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1906.

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The priory of Wereham, or Wirham, was founded by the earls of Clare in the time of Richard I. It was dedicated to St. Winwaloe or St. Guenolo, a saint who flourished in the sixth century, and whose body was enshrined in the abbey of Monsterol in the diocese of Amiens, France. Of that abbey the priory of St. Winwaloe was a cell.

The earliest extant deed of this small house is one of 1199, whereby L. prior of St. Winwaloe, with the consent and advice of his brother Remigius, abbot of Monsterol, granted a toft and eleven acres to Robert de Stradesete. In 1270 there was an exchange of lands in Wereham between the abbot and convent of Were ham and the abbot and convent of St. Salvin's of Monsterol, acting for the priory of St. Winwaloe.

According to the taxation of 1291 the priory held lands in three Norfolk parishes of the annual value of £7 2s. 8d.

In 1321 the abbot and convent of Monsterol sold this priory to Hugh Scarlet of Lincoln, and by him it was conveyed to Elizabeth de Burgo, Domine de Clare, the foundress of Clare College, Cambridge. In 1336 this lady conveyed the manor and lands of the priory to the abbot and convent of Dereham on condition of their finding a chaplain to say daily mass in the chapel of St. Winwaloe for the souls of Gilbert, earl of Clare, and of Elizabeth and her ancestors and heirs for ever. (fn. 2) Ten years later Elizabeth granted the custody of 'La Chapele de Saint Wynewale' to her well-beloved friend, John de Brauncestre. (fn. 3)

At the dissolution the manor of Winwaloe, late belonging to the abbey of Wereham, came to the crown, and was granted in the first instance to Thomas Guybon and William Mynn.


  • 1. 'Early Deeds relating to the Priory of St. Winwaloe, preserved at Stow Bardolph,' a paper by Rev. G. H. Dashwood in Norf. Arch, v, 297-312 (1859); Blomefield, Hist. of Norf. ii, 508-9; Dugdale, Mon. vi, 1051; Taylor, Index Monasticus, 9.
  • 2. Cal. of Pat. 10 Edw. III, pt. i, m. 22.
  • 3. There is a brief abstract of eleven charters relative to 'Wynewale Derham,' beginning with the grant to Hugh Scarlet in 1321, in Add. MS. 6041, fol. 86.