Swine
Community ID
 
863
 
Town
 
York
 
Diocese
 
York
 
Region
 
Yorkshire
 
Medieval Location
 
East Riding
 
Modern Location
 
Swine; 1 1/2 miles north-west of Coniston, route 165
 
Corporate Status
 
Priory
 
Dedication
 
S. Mary
 
Date Founded
 
1135-1153
 
Date Terminated
 
1539
 
Religious Order
 
Cistercian
 
Rule
 
Benedictine
 
Foundation Information
 

The nunnery was founded before 1153 by Robert de Verli Medieval English Cistercian Nunneries: Their Art and Physical Remains, 175). According to Knowles and Hadcock, this was the most important of the quasi-double monasteries, and was for nuns and lay-sisters, with canons and lay-brothers, the canons apparently of the Premonstatensian order and the lay-brothers Cistercian (Medieval Religious Houses in England and Wales, 226). S. Thompson also classifies the community as a double monastery.

 
Notable Members/Residents/Guests
 

The male monastery Croxton; Premonstratensian were spiritual advisors in the twelfth century, but the community was not part of that order. (Backmund)

 
Population Counts
 

There were 11 in 1267, and 20 in 1535. According to Knowles and Hadcock, the community was originally for 14-15 nuns, but was probably increased to over 30. At the suppression in 1539 there were 20 nuns including the prioress (Medieval Religious Houses in England and Wales, 226). The existence of canons at the priory is confirmed by the evidence of witness lists and by the record of a dispute between Swine and the abbey of Meaux in the first half of the thirteenth century (Women Religious: The Founding of English Nunneries After the Norman Conquest, 69). This reveals the presence of at least 2 canons and 7 brothers or conversi.

 
Income
 

According to the 1291 taxation, the community's income from spiritualities amounted to 53 pounds, and the income from temporalities amounted to 48 pounds. The community had the income from the church of Swine. In 1535 its net annual income was valued at 82 pounds, 3 shillings, and 9 1/2 pence.

 
Early Documents
 

[1]Confirmation of the community foundation by the archdeacon (Before 1154)
[2]Inspection of the first edition confirmed foundation (During the rule of Edward I)

 
Architecture & Archaeology
 

A description of the convent by the Suppression Commission (London: P.R.O., SP 5/2/116-137) for 1539 documents the nave as 76 feet long and 21 feet wide and the choir as 54 feet long. "The present church has four bays of stumpy round piers with multiscalloped flat capitals and square abaci and two-step pointed arches, two of them with zigzag. The small celestory windows are pointed too, and there is a corbel-table which includes the present chancel" (The Buildings of England:Yorkshire East, 353). There is a 15 foot, 6 inch wide north aisle and a 10 foot, 4 inch wide south aisle each with 3 windows of Perpendicular tracery design. The church nave and sanctuary measure 82 feet, 6 inches in length and they are separated by stalls consisting of 9 misericords which come from the nun's church. The three largest windows in the church are the east north chapel window in Decorated Gothic with 56 panels, a huge east window in Perpendicular Gothic with 7 lights, and a south sanctuary window, also Perpendicular, with 3 panels of light.

 
State Of Medieval Structure
 

The present church in the village of Swine which was the east choir of the nun's large church is all that remains. The site was subject to aerial photograph on June 17, 1951 and July 16, 1975 (Cambridge Univ.: Dept. of Aerial Photo, FU 46-50 and BUI 85-89).

 
Manuscript Sources
 

Description of the convent by the Suppression Commission: London:P.R.O., SP 5/2/116-137.

 
Miscellaneous Information
 

The foundation date is in the age of Stephen, according to Oliva.

 
Conversi/ae and servants
 

Later references to brothers and sisters has led to mistakenly seeing this as a double monastery, but there is no evidence for this, according to Robert de Verli(?). However, a notification of Henry II referred to the master of the house, canons, brothers and nuns (Thompson, 69). The existence of canons at the priory is confirmed by the evidence of witness lists and by the record of a dispute between Swine and the abbey of Meaux in the first half of the thirteenth century (Thompson, 69). This reveals the presence of at least 2 canons and 7 brothers or conversi. S. Thompson also classifies the community as a double house.

 
Admin. Notes
 

Miscellaneous information--DM--double monastery
[V0822]

 
Contributors
 
Marilyn Oliva
 
Contributors Notes
 

It has been suggested that proximity to the sea was a reason for the dereliction of the nunnery of Swine (see Charters of the Priory of Swine in Holderness, 114).

 
Date Started
 
1135
 
Date Finished
 
1539
 
Length
 
2763