Bushmead Priory was founded c1195, by Hugh de Beauchamp whose family had held lands in the area since the Norman Conquest. Joseph of Coppingford became prior and established the Augustian rule. The Augustinian order differed from other monastic orders in that the brothers were all, ordained priests. The Priory according to the cartulary records of 1349 had a chapter house, infirmary and a church. The Priory was one of the smallest religious houses in Bedfordshire. Records of visitations in 1530 and 1534 give the numbers as only five and three respectively. Immediately after the dissolution in 1536 the property was leased to Sir John St. John but in 1537 Henry V111 granted the site to Sir William Gascoigne for faithful service. At a later date William Gery purchased the Priory and the refectory and chapter house were converted and enlarged to form a mansion in about 1620. Around this time the church was demolished and the family used materials from it to create a wall to the kitchen garden.
Only the refectory or dining area and part of the kitchen of this medieval Augustinian Priory now survive with its original timber-framed roof almost intact. The site is now in the care of English Heritage, for opening times check The English Heritage web site at www.english-heritage.org.uk.
- ROBINSON, B. Bushmead Priory. Bedfordshire Magazine. Volume 14 pp 44-49. 1973
- Newspaper Cuttings Collection, Local Studies Library, Bedford Central Library
Bushmead Priory, by Bedfordshire Libraries, 2009
Page last updated: 21st January 2014