Information for record number MWA548:
Cookhill Priory - Original Site, Spernall.

Summary Documentary evidence suggests that this was the site of the Cookhill Priory, comprising a moat and Priory buildings. Of Medieval date, the remains of the Priory are visible as earthworks. The site is located 350m north west of Morgrove Coppice, Spernall.
What Is It?  
Type: Nunnery, Priory, Moat, Cistercian Nunnery, Findspot
Period: Medieval (1066 AD - 1539 AD)
Where Is It?  
Parish: Spernall
District: Stratford on Avon, Warwickshire
Grid Reference: SP 09 63
(Data represented on this map shows the current selected record as a single point, this is for illustrative purposes only and does not represent an accurate or complete representation of archaeological sites or features)
Level of Protection National - Old SMR PrefRef (Grade: )
Scheduled Monument (Grade: )
Sites & Monuments Record
Picture(s) attached


Source Number  

2 According to a papal licence of 1400 Spernall was the original site of the Priory of Cookhill and their original buildings here, at that date in ruins, included a church and cemetery a cross-bow shot from the parish church. Cookhill certainly held lands in Spernall, which are described in 1535 as the demesne (terra dominicata) of St Giles. The chapel of St Giles, which may have been the original church of the Priory, was granted with other of its lands, to Thomas Broke in 1541 and to Nicholas Fortescue in the following year. It had probably by then been converted into a farmhouse. Later references also occur.
3 Earthworks are visible on air photographs and almost certainly mark the site of the early Priory.
5 The Priory is said to have been founded by Isabel, countess of Warwick in 1260 but she was probably rebuilding a Priory founded before 1198. By 1400 the Priory had been moved to Cookhill in Worcestershire and the Spernall Priory and its cemetery had been destroyed. By 1547 the Priory had been replaced by a farmhouse and this is also refered to in the 17th century. An estate map of 1695 shows the farmhouse standing on the edge of a moated platform. The Earthwork features are well preserved. The most prominent feature is a raised platform which may once have been moated. The moat represented by a wide ditched feature is preserved to the S and E of the platform. The platform is about 60m across and bears traces of ridge and furrow. The 16th century house appears from the map evidence to have been substantial. There also appear to be Earthworks of a number of additional buildings around the house and these are probably the buildings of the Priory.
12 One of only a few moats assocaiated with an ecclesiastical site.

Source No: 6
Source Type: Aerial Photograph
Author/originator: J Pickering
Date: 1962
Page Number:
Volume/Sheet: SP4489 C/D/E/X
Source No: 12
Source Type: Article in serial
Title: Symbols of Status in Medieval Warwickshire (1000-1500)
Author/originator: Hook D
Date: 2014
Page Number:
Volume/Sheet: 117
Source No: 1
Source Type: Bibliographic reference
Title: Victoria County History, vol 2, Worcestershire
Author/originator: Doubleday H A, Page W (eds)
Date: 1906
Page Number: 156-8
Volume/Sheet: 2
Source No: 2
Source Type: Bibliographic reference
Title: Victoria County History, vol 3, Warwickshire
Author/originator: Salzman L F (ed)
Date: 1945
Page Number:
Volume/Sheet: 3
Source No: 5
Source Type: Bibliographic reference
Title: Studley Parish Survey
Author/originator: Hooke D
Date: 1980
Page Number: 59
Volume/Sheet: Studley Parish Surve
Source No: 9
Source Type: Correspondence
Title: Site of Cookhill Priory
Author/originator: WM
Date: 1989-90
Page Number:
Source No: 10
Source Type: Correspondence
Title: Site of Cookhill Priory, Spernall
Author/originator: Stephen Cracknell
Date: 1988
Page Number:
Source No: 11
Source Type: Correspondence
Title: Cookhill Priory
Author/originator: EH
Date: 1989-90
Page Number:
Source No: 8
Source Type: Museum Enquiry Form
Title: WMEF 582
Author/originator: WM
Date: 1987
Page Number:
Volume/Sheet: E/582
Source No: 4
Source Type: Plan
Title: Plan
Author/originator: Ordnance Survey
Date: 1968
Page Number:
Volume/Sheet: 14SE1
Source No: 3
Source Type: Record Card/Form
Title: OS Card 47NW21
Author/originator: Ordnance Survey
Date: 1971
Page Number:
Volume/Sheet: 47NW21
Source No: 7
Source Type: Scheduling record
Title: Scheduled Monument Description
Author/originator: English Heritage
Date: 1993
Page Number:
Earthworks marking the original site of Cookhill Priory, Spernall
Copyright: Warwickshire County Council
Date: 1990
Click here for larger image  
The site of Cookhill Priory, Spernall
Copyright: Warwickshire County Council
Date: 1990
Click here for larger image  
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Word or Phrase
none Scheduled Monument Scheduled Ancient Monuments (SAMs) are those archaeological sites which are legally recognised as being of national importance. They can range in date from prehistoric times to the Cold War period. They can take many different forms, including disused buildings or sites surviving as earthworks or cropmarks.

SAMs are protected by law from unlicensed disturbance and metal detecting. Written consent from the Secretary of State must be obtained before any sort of work can begin, including archaeological work such as geophysical survey or archaeological excavation. There are nearly 200 SAMs in Warwickshire.
source OS Card Ordnance Survey Record Card. Before the 1970s the Ordnance Survey (OS) were responsible for recording archaeological monuments during mapping exercises. This helped the Ordnance Survey to decide which monuments to publish on maps. During these exercises the details of the monuments were written down on record cards. Copies of some of the cards are kept at the Warwickshire Sites and Monuments Record. The responsibility for recording archaeological monuments later passed to the Royal Commission on Ancient and Historic Monuments. back
source WMEF Warwickshire Museum Enquiry Form. These are forms that are filled in when a person brings an object to Warwickshire Museum to be identified. Amongst the information recorded on the form are details such as a description of the object, where and when it was found, and in some cases a sketch or photographs of it. Copies of the form can be viewed at the Warwickshire Sites and Monuments Record. back
technique Documentary Evidence Documentary evidence is another name for written records. The first written records in Britain date back to the Roman period. Documentary evidence can take many different forms, including maps, charters, letters and written accounts. When archaeologists are researching a site, they often start by looking at documentary evidence to see if there are clues that will help them understand what they might find. Documentary evidence can help archaeologists understand sites that are discovered during an excavation, field survey or aerial survey. back
technique Earthwork Earthworks can take the form of banks, ditches and mounds. They are usually created for a specific purpose. A bank, for example, might be the remains of a boundary between two or more fields. Some earthworks may be all that remains of a collapsed building, for example, the grassed-over remains of building foundations.

In the winter, when the sun is lower in the sky than during the other seasons, earthworks have larger shadows. From the air, archaeologists are able to see the patterns of the earthworks more easily. Earthworks can sometimes be confusing when viewed at ground level, but from above, the general plan is much clearer.

Archaeologists often carry out an aerial survey or an earthwork survey to help them understand the lumps and bumps they can see on the ground.
period Medieval 1066 AD to 1539 AD (the 11th century AD to the 16th century AD)

The medieval period comes after the Saxon period and before the post medieval period.

The Medieval period begins in 1066 AD.
This was the year that the Normans, led by William the Conqueror (1066 – 1087), invaded England and defeated Harold Godwinson at the Battle of Hastings in East Sussex.
The Medieval period includes the first half of the Tudor period (1485 – 1603 AD), when the Tudor family reigned in England and eventually in Scotland too.

The end of the Medieval period is marked by Henry VIII’s (1509 – 1547) order for the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the years running up to 1539 AD. The whole of this period is sometimes called the Middle Ages.
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monument HOUSE * A building for human habitation, especially a dwelling place. Use more specific type where known. back
monument SITE * Unclassifiable site with minimal information. Specify site type wherever possible. back
monument BUILDING * A structure with a roof to provide shelter from the weather for occupants or contents. Use specific type where known. back
monument RIDGE AND FURROW * A series of long, raised ridges separated by ditches used to prepare the ground for arable cultivation. This was a technique, characteristic of the medieval period. back
monument NUNNERY * Houses specifically of nuns/canonesses or religious women. back
monument FEATURE * Areas of indeterminate function. back
monument FARMHOUSE * The main dwelling-house of a farm, it can be either detached from or attached to the working buildings. back
monument FINDSPOT * The approximate location at which stray finds of artefacts were found. Index with object name. back
monument PARISH CHURCH * The foremost church within a parish. back
monument PRIORY * A monastery governed by a prior or prioress. Use with narrow terms of DOUBLE HOUSE, FRIARY, MONASTERY or NUNNERY. back
monument CHURCH * A building used for public Christian worship. Use more specific type where known. back
monument MOAT * A wide ditch surrounding a building, usually filled with water. Use for moated sites, not defensive moats. Use with relevant site type where known, eg. MANOR HOUSE, GARDEN, etc. back
monument WELL * A shaft or pit dug in the ground over a supply of spring-water. back
monument PLATFORM * Unspecified. Use specific type where known. back
monument CEMETERY * An area of ground, set apart for the burial of the dead. back
monument CHAPEL * A freestanding building, or a room or recess serving as a place of Christian worship in a church or other building. Use more specific type where known. back
monument CROSS * A free-standing structure, in the form of a cross (+), symbolizing the structure on which Jesus Christ was crucified and sacred to the Christian faith. Use specific type where known. back
monument COPPICE * A managed small wood or thicket of underwood grown to be periodically cut to encourage new growth providing smaller timber. back
monument CISTERCIAN NUNNERY * An abbey or a priory of Cistercian nuns. back
monument EARTHWORK * A bank or mound of earth used as a rampart or fortification. back

* Copyright of English Heritage (1999)

English Heritage National Monuments Record