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Bridport Chantry

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;

In the civil parish of Bridport.
In the historic county of Dorset.
Modern Authority of Dorset.
1974 county of Dorset.
Medieval County of Dorset.

OS Map Grid Reference: SY46589242
Latitude 50.72894° Longitude -2.75820°

Bridport Chantry has been described as a Pele Tower although is doubtful that it was such, and also as a Urban Defence although is doubtful that it was such.

There are major building remains.

This is a Grade 2* listed building protected by law*.


The Chantry is situated to the south of the town and the building is of late C14 to C15 construction. The building has the appearance of a semi-fortified tower house and is also said to be the St Leonard's Chantry priest's house. (Baxter)

The Chantry was probably constructed in the late 13th or early 14th century as a municipal building associated with a harbour and incorporating a cresset. It was converted into the house for the chantry priest of St Leonard in the later 14th century. In the late 16th century it was converted into house for family use and it was extensively renovated and altered in the 1870s. It was restored in 1987. (Dorset HER)

Probably C14 or C15. At one time known as the "Prior's House", more probably the house of a chantry priest. It is a 2-storey stone rubble house with a projecting 2-storey porch wing at the front. There is a pointed arch to the porch with the head renewed. Most of the windows appear to be C19. Modern tiles. Gable ends with stone copings. There is a projecting course of stone slabs at cornice level. Internally there are some interesting details including a fireplace opening with shouldered arch and one with a moulded 4-centred lintel. (Listed Building Report)

Constructed in the late C13 or early C14 as a municipal building, probably associated with a harbour. In the late C14 it was converted into a house for a chantry priest. ... It was not defensive, although it could have served as a lookout, ... Its principle function was probably the collection of tolls at the S. approach to the town, in conjunction with a barrier across the road. (Rodwell, 1990)

If a toll house then a potential target for thieves and rioters so may have been built with a some element of defence in mind.
Formerly in the ownership of The Vivat Trust and available as a holiday let. However the Trust went into liquidation in 2015. Gatehouse is unaware of the current status of the site but there is no reason to believe it to be at risk.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:30

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