Kirklees
Community ID
 
859
 
Alternate Names
 
Kirkleghes, Kyrkly, (Kuthales according to Dugdale)
 
Town
 
York
 
Diocese
 
York
 
Region
 
Yorkshire
 
Medieval Location
 
West Riding, in the parish of Dewsbury
 
Modern Location
 
Kirklees; 1 1/2 miles North of Huddersfield, route 62
 
Corporate Status
 
Priory
 
Dedication
 
S. Mary and S. James
 
Date Founded
 
1100-1135
 
Date Terminated
 
1539
 
Religious Order
 
Cistercian
 
Rule
 
Benedictine
 
Foundation Information
 

The probable founder is Reiner de Fleming I or II (Reyner Flandrensis)lord of the manor of Wath-upon-Dearne. The grant was first confirmed by William, Earl Warenne and then in 1236 by Henry III.

 
Notable Heads
 

Lecia 1190-1211
Maud Clayton 1211-25
Marion Pinkerly 1225-40
Sybil 1240-48
Joanne de Staynton 1248-52
Elizabeth de Scervin 1252-70
Mary de Inchcliffe 1270-89
Judith de Startinly 1289-1306
Margaret de Clayworth 1306-1307
Alice de Scriven 1307-1328-31
Elizabeth de Stainton (Staynton) (dates unknown-possibly 1331-47)
Elizabeth Jepson 1329-44
Mary Startin 1344-1350(Died of plague per Eileen Powers)
Margaret Deseyvill 1350--61
Elizabeth Rhodes 1361-73
Alicia Bradley 1393-1403
Alice de Mountenay 1403-1417
Margaret Allen 1417-53
Elizabeth Kitchinman 1453-76
Cecelia Hyk 1476-91
Joan Stansfield 1491-99
Margaret Tarleton 1499-1505
Margaret Fletcher 1505-27
Cecelia Topcliffe 1527-32
Joan Keppax 1532-39.

 
Notable Members/Residents/Guests
 

According to VCH, there was an unknown scandal surrounding three of Kirklee's nuns: Alice Raggid, Elizabeth Hopton, and Joan Heton, during the period of 1306-1315.

 
Population Counts
 

There were 9 in 1539.

 
Other Ecclesiastical Relations
 

Pope Boniface IX (1389-1404) gave the nuns the church of Mirfield upon the death or retirement of it's rector.

 
Patrons/Benefactors
 

In 1412 John de Burgh left the nuns 13s. 4d. In 1407, Sir William Scot, knight, of Great Halyton gave 10 marks to the nuns and another 10 marks for the fabric of the nun's church.

 
Assets/Property
 

In 1397 the community has 50 acres of land.

 
Income
 

Advow from the church of Mirfield. In 1535 its annual income was valued at 19 pounds, 8 shillings, and 2 pence, according to the Suppression Commission (London: P.R.O., SP 5/2/189-195).

 
Early Documents
 

[1]Confirmaton by Henry III of the foundation (1236)
[2]Confirmatation by William , Earl Warren (Before 1240)

 
Art & Artifacts
 

There was an engraving of an inscription found at the tomb of Abbess Elizabeth Stainton (Staynton) written in Old French: "Douce Jhesu de Nazaret fites mercy a Elizabeth Staynton jadis Priores de cest Maison." The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543, 96.

 
Architecture & Archaeology
 

Kirklees is the only English Cistercian nunnery to have been subject to an extensive archaeological excavation. No physical structures are still standing from the era of the convent's history, but a reconstruction of the priory was possible on the basis of the archaeological survey (Armytage, Kirklees Priory, 24-32) and on the basis of a description of the house by the Suppression commission (London: P.R.O., SP 5/2/189-195) for 1539. The church was approximately 80 feet long and consisted of a nave and a chancel of 21 feet without aisles or transepts. The cloister was a square of 40 feet. Living quarters were equally modest (Pevsner, Buildings YOrkshire: West Riding, 291). The only remains found by the dig, other than the footing of the buildings, were two twelfth-century capitals from twin shafts which probably were part of the cloister arcade. The site was photographed from the air on August 11, 1953 (Cambridge Univ.: Dept. of Aerial Photo, NA 84-86).

 
State Of Medieval Structure
 

No physical structures are still standing from the era of the convent's history, but a reconstruction of the priory was possible on the basis of the archaeological survey (Kirklees Priory, 24-32) and on the basis of a description of the house by the Suppression commission (London: P.R.O., SP 5/2/189-195) for 1539.

 
Manuscript Sources
 

Description by the Suppression Commission (London: P.R.O., SP 5/2/189-195)

 
Miscellaneous Information
 

foundation date : 1100-35 (needs verification); in the age of Henry II, according to Oliva.
The priory has also been associated with the legend of Robin Hood.

 
Admin. Notes
 

[V0452]

 
Contributors
 
Marilyn Oliva, Barbara Green
 
Date Started
 
1100
 
Date Finished
 
1539
 
Length
 
1393