The History of  
Hinchingbrooke House  

the Hart of Hinchingbrooke



oliver cromwell

edward montagu


fourth earl

5th-7th earls

Eighth Earl

ninth earl






Alice Wylton

Nuns moved from the nunnery at Eltisley, called Papley, rebuild the 11th century church of St James just outside Huntingdon around the year 1170. This priory called HYCHELINGBROK, lasts until 1535 when AliceWylton, the last prioress, dies.

Hinchingbrooke: from Victoria County History

William the Lion, King of Scotland and Earl of Huntingdon, granted lands for a priory of Benedictine nuns known as Hychelingbrok in the 13th century, until the 15th century as St. James-without-Huntingdon and since as Hinchingbrook Priory. The patrons were great benefactors to the nunnery in the 12th century.
In 1199 King John gave due from 60 acres of meadow by their gates. These royal gifts were supplemented by numerous private benefactions, until at the Dissolution the land included 90 acres of arable and 20 acres of meadow, the vineyard pasture, a close and dovecot near the priory and a profit of 20d from courts.

In December 1535 Dr. Leigh visited the priory, where the last prioress lay dying. He commissioned the Prior of Huntingdon to take an inventory of the priory's goods and lock the coffers till its fate could be decided. The following year Hinchingbrooke suffered the fate of the smaller houses and was quietly closed down.

By coincidence the man who carried out the Dissolution of the Monasteries, closing them down to give Henry VIII more power and money, was Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex. He is relatedto the next owners of Hinchingbrooke

There are few visible remains of the Benedictine nunnery, but a large number of 12th and 13th- century stones lying in a ditch on the south side of the garden were, no doubt, from its early buildings.

The wall running south-east from the gatehouse is composed of reused material. In it is a doorway largely of 13th-century stones but having three 12th- century capitals and over it is the 17th-century pediment from the north gable of the long gallery.
Move mouse to the sides of the door for a closer look at the carved stones.

Nearby was found a 13th-century effigy of a man in armour (now in the House foyer) and two stone coffins. more

Explain why Henry VIII closed down the monasteries

Other Links

Nunnery Plan