Haverholme Priory

Haverholme Priory

Ruins of Haverholme Priory
Location within Lincolnshire
Monastery information
Order Cistercian 1137-1139
Gilbertine 1139-1538
Established 1137, 1139
Disestablished 1538
Dedicated to St Mary
Founder(s) Alexander, Bishop of Lincoln
Status Monastery rebuilt as a house in the 1780s and 1830s, now ruined
Heritage designation Scheduled Monument 1004984
Grade II listed building 1360563
Location Ewerby and Evedon, North Kesteven, Lincolnshire
Coordinates 53°01′51″N 0°20′57″W / 53.030800°N 0.34930122°W / 53.030800; -0.34930122

Haverholme Priory was a monastery in Lincolnshire, England. Its remains are situated 4 miles (6 km) north-east from the town of Sleaford and less than 1 mile (1.6 km) south-west from the village of Anwick.[1]


In 1137 Alexander, Bishop of Lincoln offered the site of Haverholme Priory to the Cistercian monks of Fountains Abbey. After two years of construction the order rejected the site and instead established Louth Park Abbey. Haverholme was offered to Gilbert of Sempringham and his Gilbertine order who sent nuns and brothers from Sempringham to inhabit the new buildings of what was to be a double monastery.[2]

Gilbertine operation

Haverholme Priory in an 1826 sketch in The Gentleman's Magazine

The Gilbertines also inherited the responsibility for keeping the neighbouring fens drained, and to maintain a foot ferry to Sleaford across the River Slea at Ewerby Waith. They were however summoned to account in 1316 when it fell into disrepair. They were summoned again in 1360 when Alice Everingham, daughter of John de Everingham, who was supposed to have taken vows, fled from the Priory, only to be hunted down and recaptured. She complained to the Bishop of the time that she had never taken vows and she was being held against her will, so he ordered her to be released.

It is rumoured that in 1164 Thomas Becket hid at Haverholme during one of his arguments with the King.[2]

Dissolution and subsequent history

Henry VIII dissolved the Priory in 1538[2] and it had various owners for the next two and a half centuries. It was inherited by the Finch-Hatton family. George Finch-Hatton, 10th Earl of Winchilsea and 5th Earl of Nottingham rebuilt it in 1830. It was used as a family home by the Finch-Hatton family for almost a century but by the early 1920s it was up for sale.[3][4] Haverholme was sold in 1926 to an American woman who had most of it dismantled, stone by stone, to be rebuilt in America. The cargo was on the dock in Liverpool when the buyer became a victim in a train crash. Eventually the stones, never shipped to America, were used to build new docks.[5]

One casualty of this was the Sleaford Canal locks, which also fell into disuse, effectively closing the canal.

The present ruin is the remains of a Gothic building built around 1835 by H.E. Kendall, itself a rebuild of an earlier house dating from 1780, and now a Grade II listed building[6] and designated Ancient Monument.[7]


  1. Historic England. "Haverholme Priory (351056)". PastScape. Retrieved 12 November 2014.
  2. 1 2 3 Page, William, ed. (1906). A History of the County of Lincoln: Volume 2 ('Houses of the Gilbertine order: The priory of Haverholme'). London. p. 187-8. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  3. The Estate Market: Haverholme Priory: Sporting Property. The Times, 19 August 1921, p. 15, col. G (first paragraph).
  4. "Haverholme Priory". The Times, 31 August 1921, p. 18, columns A and B.
  5. "Denys Finch Hatton's Boyhood Home", karenblixen.com
  6. Historic England. "Haverholme Priory  (Grade II) (1360563)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 29 June 2016.
  7. Historic England. "Haverholme Priory scheduling (1004984)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 29 June 2016.

Coordinates: 53°01′51″N 0°20′57″W / 53.030800°N 0.34930122°W / 53.030800; -0.34930122

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