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!