Brinkburn Priory

Has been described as a Possible Fortified Ecclesiastical site

There are masonry footings remains

NameBrinkburn Priory
Alternative NamesBrinkburne; Brekenburne
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishBrinkburn

Although only the church and part of the south cloister range survive as upstanding remains, Brinkburn Priory is an important example of a small Augustinian priory. The medieval fabric of the church is exceptionally well-preserved and provides a good illustration of the late 12th century Transitional style of architecture, while the buried remains of additional buildings and features survive beyond the cloister ranges and include the priory mill and gateway. The remains also retain useful evidence of the transition from medieval monastery to post-medieval house.

Evidence of the history of the priory comes from the Brinkburn cartulary or collection of charters, and, from these, it can be seen that the house was never wealthy and that its poverty was exacerbated by the Scottish wars of the 14th century. In 1419 the priory was raided and robbed of its valuables. It never recovered its losses and, in 1535, was among the minor monastic houses dissolved by the first Act of Suppression. (Scheduling Report)

Although it had no tower, the priory did have some strongly made buildigns which may have been used as refuges. (Dodds 1999).

Gatehouse Comments

The Priory is sited on the end of a sharp meander of the River Coquet, the nature of which give the Priory the required spiritual isolation. There is no suggestion of a precinct wall or gatehouse and the Priory is quite notable in lacking these features.

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law

Historic England Scheduled Monument Number
Historic England Listed Building number(s)
Images Of England
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNZ116983
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  • Harrison, Peter, 2004, Castles of God (Woodbridge; Boydell Press) p. 67
  • Brooke, C.J., 2000, Safe Sanctuaries (Edinburgh; John Donald) p. 114-5
  • Dodds, John F., 1999, Bastions and Belligerents (Newcastle upon Tyne: Keepdate Publishing) p. 198
  • Knowles, D. and Hadcock, R.N., 1953, The Medieval Religious Houses of England and Wales (London) p. 129
  • Knowles, D. and St Joseph, J.K.S., 1952, Monastic Sites from the Air (Cambridge), 191-2
  • Hodgson, John Crawford (ed), 1904, Northumberland County History (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) Vol. 7 p. 455-92 online copy
  • Gibson, W.S., 1854, Northumbrian Castles, Churches and Antiquities Part 3 p. 43-52 online copy
  • Hodgson, J., 1835, History of Northumberland Part 3 Vol. 3 (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) p. 47, 49, 59, 61, 80
  • Hodgson, J., 1820, History of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) Part 3 Vol. 1 p. 354 online copy
  • Hutchinson, Wm, 1776, A View of Northumberland (Newcastle) Vol. 2 p. 280 online copy


  • Dugdale, Wm (Caley, J., Ellis, H. and Bandinel, B. (eds)), 1817-30 (originally pub. 1655-73), Monasticon Anglicanum (London) Vol. 6 p. 331-3 online copy
  • Tanner, T., 1787, Notitia Monastica (Cambridge) p391-2 online copy


  • Fairclough, Graham, 1980, 'Brinkburn Priory: A structural analysis of the manor house' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser5) Vol. 8 p. 143-152
  • Clark, A.B.E., 1976, 'Brinkburn Priory' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 133 p. 140-5
  • Binnall, P.B.G. and Dodds, M.H., 1942, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne (ser4) Vol. 10 p. 23-4
  • 1909-11, History of the Berwickshire Naturalists Club Vol. 21 p. 130-4 online copy
  • 1902, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle-upon-Tyne (ser2) Vol. 10 p. 199, 207 online copy
  • Cadogan, C.H., 1887-9, 'Brenkburne Priory. Ministers'Account of 1535-6; Translated' History of the Berwickshire Naturalists Club Vol. 12 p. 119-24 online copy
  • Johnson, R.J., 1866, Transactions of the Durham and Northumberland Architectural and Archaeological Society Vol. 1 p. 103-8
  • Wilson, F.R., 1856-62, 'Brinkburn Priory' History of the Berwickshire Naturalists Club Vol. 4 p. 139-45 online copy

Guide Books

  • Roberts, Martin, 2003, Brinkburn Priory (London: English Heritage)
  • Clark, A.B.E., 1982, Brinkburn Priory (D.o.E. guide)

Primary Sources

  • Page, W. (ed), 1892, Chartulary of Brinkburn Priory (Surtees Society 90) online copy


  • Ryder, P.F., 1992, Brinkburn Priory Mill: the priory gatehouse interim report
  • Davies, J.F. and Manning, T., 1997, Wall Painting Condition Audit, Brinkburn Priory, Northumberland (Ancient Monuments Laboratory 30/97)