Community ID
Alternate Names
S. Mary of Wykeham, Wickham
Medieval Location
North Riding
Modern Location
Wykeham; 6 miles south-west of Scarborough, route 170
Corporate Status
S. Mary and S. Michael
Date Founded
1153 or earlier
Date Terminated
Religious Order
Foundation Information

It was founded around 1153 by Pain fitz Osbert. There was a fire in the age of Edward III, but the community continued.

Population Counts

There were probably 20 nuns in the 13th century. There were 14 nuns in 1381. Wykeham escaped dissolution in 1535-6 and after the suppression the prioress and 12 nuns received pensions. There were 9 nuns still on the pension list in 1553.


Established a chantry for John of Wycham in 1323. Further research is necessary.


William de Octon gave half a carucate of land to the nuns when his nephews were received into the house (Medieval Religious Houses in England and Wales, 71).


Messuage and 24 acres of land; Pickering in Lancaster[?] In 1291 assets were valued at 22 pounds.


It derived income from the church of Wykeham and from the priory of Bridlingtonm. In 1535 the convent's net annual income was valued at 25 pounds, 17 shillings, and 6 pence.

Art & Artifacts

There is a thirteenth century seal depicting the seated Virgin crowned, holding a scepter and the infant on her knee. The only visible word on the legend is "SIGILLE."

Architecture & Archaeology

The north church wall of the priory still stands east of a modern mansion of Viscount Downe. The wall is 113 feet long and, in places, 16 feet high. There are four rectangular windows 8 feet high and 5 feet wide on the wall. Three are together on the west end and one is by itself on the east. There is also a small blocked-in doorway with Norman molding 22 feet from the eastern corner, and a plain Norman doorway 5 feet high and 3 feet wide in a western buttress for the wall. In addition, two high Romanesque arches stand side by side in the middle of the wall. Further east is a doorway in a wall which was made of molding that has fleurs de lie carved into it. A description of the convent was given by the Suppression Commission (London: P.R. O., SP 5/21/100-115) and the site was photographed from the air on May 13, 1968 and April 14, 1971 (Cambridge Univ.: Dept. of Aerial Photo, AUH 59-61 and RC 8-V 163-164). A pencil drawing of a church attributed to be Wykeham's was done by Edward Blore (London: British Museum, Add. 42006, f. 100), but the church was a smaller one built in the middle of the eighteenth century (Medieval English Cistercian Nunneries: Their Art and Physical Remains, 176).

State Of Medieval Structure

The north church wall of the priory still stands east of a modern mansion of Viscount Downe. [See Architecture/Archaeology above]

Manuscript Sources

[1]Report by the Suppression Commission: London: P.R.O., SP 5/21/100-115

Admin. Notes

Assets--Lanc refers to Lancaster?

WRL Project
Contributors Notes

This community has also been said to have been Gilbertine based on information provided by Gervase of Canterbury(see Women Religious: The Founding of English Nunneries After the Norman Conquest,78-79, 95).

Date Started
Date Finished