Friends of Ware Priory

Ware Priory – Timeline of key events



1338 - Ware Greyfriars granted land to build an oratory (a place of prayer).


1536 - Act of Parliament passed to "dissolve" the monasteries and other religious houses (Priories & Friaries)


1544 - Henry VIII gave the property to Thomas Byrche as a private house which it remained until 1912


1913 - Ware Priory purchased by Mrs Elizabeth Croft, a member of one of the major malting families of Ware.


           During the Great War, Elizabeth Croft loaned The Priory to the Red Cross as a hospital for wounded soldiers.


1920 - Ware Priory is leased to the people of Ware for 999 years at a rent of three shillings (15p) per year,

           and is used as base for Ware Urban District Council (WUDC)


1974 - Local Government review, WUDC dissolved and East Herts District Council (EHDC) is formed


           Between 1974 & 1980, Charities Commission decide the 1920 lease was "charitable"  and should be

           registered as a charity            


1980 - 1993


           Control of the Priory passed to Ware Town Council as Charitable Trustee


           The Priory and some grounds listed as a Scheduled Ancient Monument by English Heritage


            A scheme for restoration and refurbishment was finally agreed.


1993 - Work starts in October;

           Many interesting finds were uncovered;

           More than expected of the original 14th and 15th century structures found to remain.


1994 - In November the building officially re-opened by HRH Duke of Gloucester.


2001 - Old Stable Block roof collapses, as a result the block had to be demolished on safety grounds


           Trustees agree to improve that part of the Priory park/estate by erecting a new community building


2006 - Fletcher’s Lea officially opened in March 2006 by Duke of Gloucester


The story is not yet over.  The Priory park/estate continues to evolve and the next chapter awaits.


Plans have been discussed for a major refurbishment of the grounds, including reinstating some of the former Victorian features.


Watch this space!




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