In the History of Burton Bradstock you will have read that the Manor of Brideton, Dorset was given by Henry l to the Abbey of St. Stephen in Caen to redeem regalia which his father, on his death bed, had given to the Abbey. It later belonged to the priory of Bradenstoke (or Bradstock) in Wiltshire, hence the second part of the village's name.
So, where is Bradenstoke and is the priory still in existence?
Bradenstoke is located on a hill on the southern side of Braydon river and to the north of Lyneham airfield, it was an important place in medieval times. The site of the Augustinian priory of Clack founded in 1142 by Walter D'Evereaux. Some of its ruins are still to be seen in the farmstead known as Bradenstoke Abbey, but its great barn and guest house were taken down and carted away, some to St Donat's castle in South Wales, and the Tithe barn to the USA, by William Randolph Hearst where they have recently been re-discovered still in the original shipping crates. The story goes that the barn was dismantled stone by stone and taken to the site of the magnate's castle at San Simeon, California. He lost interest in the barn project and sold the stonework to an hotelier who wanted to use it for wedding receptions. Permission was refused because of earthquake zone restrictions. The residents of Bradenstoke have been trying for a Lottery grant to try and persuade the hotelier to sell them their barn and return it to its rightful setting.
In 2005 Ray West visited the site of the priory, with the kind permission of the owner of Abbey Farm, on whose land the priory stands and took the attached photographs. As you can see the priory is in a very sad state.
Earlier photographs can be seen on the following web site :- www.wiltshirefhs.co.uk/wiltsimages/bstokepy.htm
This plate was kindly donated to a villager by Karen Oatley who lives about 20 miles from Bradenstoke. It shows Bradenstoke Priory in the centre (The picture is based on the above print) - the rest of the plate is white with a gold trim. It is marked "Made in Germany" on the back. Nothing else is known about it except that it was found when Karen was house clearing and followed this by searching the Internet for further information leading her to the connection with Burton Bradstock.
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