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List of Medieval Fortified Ecclesiastical Sites (churches and monastries) in England

Monasteries, churches and granges defended against raids. Monastic communities were, mainly, made up of high status people. Monasteries were also often used as stop over residencies for lords. Much monastic 'fortification' such as gatehouses are actually status displays rather than really defensive, although military raids and peasant riots did occasionally put such defences to the test. Granges could hold considerable wealth so defences here were generally practical but also reflect the status of the parent community. Churches were an important resource for the local peasant community having many functions beyond spiritual succour; in unsafe areas like the Marches, this included short-term defence against raiding bands.
It is and was commonplace for churches to have towers and to be crenellated. The symbol of secular lordship, the crenellated tower, derived from the responsibilities of secular lordship to defend the community were thus appropriated to symbolise spiritual dominion. It should also be noted that belfry towers have particular structural issues to deal with heavy moving and vibrating bells and need to be substancial, thick walled and have small windows for these reasons, particularly in areas where the quality of stone and mortar was poor.
Bishop's castles and priest's towers are considered as private residences and are listed with other castles etc.
Questionable or Doubtful
Confidence is a statement of the site as a medieval fortification


Name Alternative Name(s) County Remains
Abingdon Abbey Abyndon, Abbandune Berkshire no visible
Alnwick Abbey Northumberland masonry ruins/remnants
Alnwick Church of St Mary and St Michael Northumberland masonry ruins/remnants
Ancroft Church of St Ann Ancroft Vicars Pele; St Anne Church; Ancrofte Northumberland major building
Aslackby Preceptory Temple Farm Lincolnshire no visible
Bamburgh Friary Friary Farm Northumberland masonry ruins/remnants
Barton Church of St Michael Westmorland major building
Battle Abbey Bello Sussex masonry ruins/remnants
Bedale Church of St Gregory Yorkshire major building
Belford Chapel of St Mary Chapel Crag Northumberland masonry footings
Blanchland Abbey Lord Crewe Arms Hotel Northumberland uncertain
Bolton Hospital Hospital of St Thomas the Martyr; Boltone; Boulton; the Guards Northumberland cropmark/slight earthwork
Brainshaugh Priory, Acklington Guyzance Priory; Gysyns; St Wilfrid's Northumberland masonry ruins/remnants
Brampton Church of St Martin Cumberland masonry ruins/remnants
Bridlington Priory The Bayle Gate; Bridlyngton Yorkshire no visible
Brigham Church of St Bridget Cumberland major building
Brinkburn Priory Brinkburne; Brekenburne Northumberland masonry footings
Buckland Abbey Buckelond Devonshire masonry ruins/remnants
Burgh by Sands Church of St Michael Cumberland major building
Bury St Edmunds Abbey Suffolk major building
Bywell Church of St Peter Northumberland major building
Caldbeck Church of St Kentigern St Mungo Cumberland major building
Carlisle Cathedral Church and Priory of St Mary Cumberland major building
Chester Abbey of St Werburgh Cheshire major building
Church of St John of Beverley, Harpham Yorkshire major building
Coquet Island Tower Coket Island Tower; Coketeland Northumberland masonry footings
Corsenside church of St Cuthbert Northumberland masonry ruins/remnants
Dearham Church of St Mungo Cumberland major building
Drax Priory Long Drax Yorkshire earthwork
Eagle Preceptory Aycle Lincolnshire earthwork
Edenhall Church of St Cuthbert Cumberland no visible
Edington Priory Edyndon Wiltshire masonry ruins/remnants
Edlingham Church of St John the Bapist Northumberland major building
Embleton Church of the Holy Trinity Northumberland major building
Evesham Abbey Eovesham Worcestershire masonry footings
Exeter Bishops Palace and Cathedral Close Devonshire masonry ruins/remnants
Faxfleet Hall Garths, Blacktoft Faxflete Yorkshire earthwork
Garway Church of St Michael Garaway Herefordshire major building
Gisborough Priory Giseburghe; Guisborough; St Mary’s Priory Yorkshire no visible
Glasney College Glassiney Cornwall no visible
Great Crosthwaite Church of St Kentigern Cumberland major building
Great Salkeld Church of St Cuthbert Cumberland major building
Halesowen Abbey Hales Worcestershire masonry ruins/remnants
Hartburn Church of St Andrew Northumberland masonry ruins/remnants
Hexham Priory St Wilfrid's Gateway Northumberland major building
Holme Cultram Abbey Hulm Cumberland earthwork
Hulne Friary Hulne Priory; Hulne Abbey; Hulne Whitefriars; Holne Northumberland masonry ruins/remnants
Kirby Bellars Priory Leicestershire earthwork
Kirk Merrington Church of St John Merrington Church Tower Durham no visible
Langdon Abbey Langedon Kent masonry ruins/remnants
Langley Abbey Norfolk masonry ruins/remnants
Lewes Priory Sussex masonry ruins/remnants
Lichfield Cathedral Close and Bishop Palace Staffordshire masonry footings
Lincoln Cathedral Close Wall Lincolnshire masonry ruins/remnants
Lincoln Cathedral West Front Remigius' Tower Lincolnshire major building
Lindisfarne Priory Holy Island; holy Iland Northumberland masonry ruins/remnants
Longhoughton Church of St Peter and St Paul Northumberland masonry ruins/remnants
Low Chibburn Hospitallers Preceptory Chibourn Northumberland masonry ruins/remnants
Melmerby Church of St John the Baptist Cumberland masonry ruins/remnants
Michelham Priory Sussex major building
Minster Court Minster Abbey Kent major building
Newton Arlosh Church of St John the Baptist Cumberland masonry ruins/remnants
Norham Church of St Cuthbert Northumberland masonry ruins/remnants
Ormside Church of St James Ormshed Westmorland major building
Penrith Church of St Andrew Cumberland major building
Peterborough Abbey Precinct and Burh Northamptonshire and the Soke of Peterborough major building
Peterborough Bishops Palace Abbey of Peterborough Northamptonshire and the Soke of Peterborough masonry ruins/remnants
Quarr Abbey Quarrera Hampshire and the Isle of Wight masonry ruins/remnants
Quenington Court Gloucestershire earthwork
Ramsey Abbey Rameseia Huntingdonshire no visible
Scaleby Church of All Saints Cumberland major building
Selby Abbey Yorkshire no visible
Shaftesbury Abbey Shafton Dorset masonry ruins/remnants
South Charlton Chapel Tower Northumberland no visible
Spalding Priory Spaldyng Lincolnshire no visible
St Albans Abbey Great Gatehouse Hertfordshire masonry ruins/remnants
St Andrews Cathedral Priory, Rochester Priors Gate Kent major building
St Augustines Abbey, Canterbury The Kings House; Fyndon's Gateway; The Great Gatehouse Kent masonry ruins/remnants
St Augustines, Shrewsbury Sancti Augustini de Salop Shropshire no visible
St Bees Gatehouse Pele Tower Flatt Cumberland no visible
St Benets Abbey, Holm Norfolk masonry ruins/remnants
St Michaels Mount Castle Cornwall masonry footings
Stamfordham Church of St Mary Northumberland no visible
Temple Bruer Preceptory la Bruere; Temple Bruern Lincolnshire masonry ruins/remnants
Thockrington Church of St Aidan Throckrington; Thokeryngton Northumberland no visible
Thornton Abbey Lincolnshire major building
Torre Abbey Mohun Gatehouse Devonshire masonry ruins/remnants
Tynemouth Castle Tynemouth Priory; Tiefort; Tynemuth Northumberland major building
Waltham Abbey Essex masonry ruins/remnants
Warkworth Church of St Lawrence Church of St Laurence Northumberland major building
Wells Cathedral Precinct Penniless Porch; Brown's Gate; The Dean's Eye; The Bishop's Eye Somerset major building
Wetheral Priory Wetherall Priory Cumberland major building
Whalley Abbey Whalleye Lancashire masonry ruins/remnants
Wigton Church of St Mary Cumberland no visible
Wilmington Priory Sussex masonry ruins/remnants
Winchcombe Abbey Winchcomb; Wynchecombe Gloucestershire no visible
Worcester Cathedral Priory Wygorn; Edgar Tower Worcestershire masonry ruins/remnants
Wylam Hall Monks House; Sporting House Northumberland masonry ruins/remnants
Yeaveley preceptory Stydd Hall Derbyshire masonry footings
York Abbey St Marys Abbey; The Kings Manor Yorkshire major building
York Cathedral Precinct Yorkshire no visible
Bamburgh Church of St Aidan Northumberland major building
Bellingham Church of St Cuthbert Northumberland major building
Bolam Church of St Andrew Northumberland major building
Boltongate Church of All Saints Cumberland major building
Burton in Kendal Church of St James Westmorland major building
Calder Abbey Gate Cumberland masonry ruins/remnants
Cartmel Priory Gatehouse Lancashire major building
Durham Cathedral Dunelm Durham major building
Eglingham Church of St Maurice Northumberland major building
Elsdon Church of St Cuthbert Northumberland major building
Franciscan Friary of Carlisle Greyfriars Cumberland no visible
Furness Abbey Lancashire major building
Greystoke Church of St Andrew Cumberland masonry ruins/remnants
Holy Island Church of St Mary Northumberland masonry ruins/remnants
Ingram Church of St Michael Northumberland major building
Inner Farne Island Chapel of St Cuthbert Northumberland masonry ruins/remnants
Kirknewton Church of St Gregory the Great Northumberland major building
Kirkwhelpington Church of St Bartholomew Northumberland masonry ruins/remnants
Lambley Priory St Mary and St Patrick’s Priory Northumberland no visible
Lanercost Priory Cumberland major building
Lesbury Church of St Mary Northumberland masonry ruins/remnants
Morpeth Church of St Mary Northumberland major building
Much Wenlock Castle Castel Wenlock Shropshire masonry ruins/remnants
Newbiggin By The Sea Church of St Bartholomew Northumberland masonry ruins/remnants
Ponteland Church of St Mary Northumberland major building
Reagill Grange Renegill Westmorland masonry ruins/remnants
Southwell Minster siege work Nottinghamshire no visible
St Mary-le-Bow Cheapside Church London and Middlesex masonry footings
St. Michael at the Northgate Tower Oxfordshire masonry ruins/remnants
Tavistock Abbey Betsy Grimbald's Tower Devonshire masonry ruins/remnants
Temple Newsam Preceptory Temple Newsham; Temple Thorpe Farm Yorkshire no visible
The College and St John's Church, Rushford Norfolk major building
Wherwell Abbey Wherwell Priory; Werwellam; Warewella Hampshire and the Isle of Wight no visible
Whittingham Church of St Bartholomew Northumberland no visible
Wilton Abbey Wiltshire no visible

This listing was last updated on Friday, April 10, 2015

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