Overview

The grade-I listed gatehouse of Butley Priory, built under prior William de Geystone (1311-1322), is virtually all that remains of the Augustinian Priory founded here in 1171.

It lies deep in the sandy heathlands of east Suffolk, and originally comprised a magnificent collection of buildings, covering an area of twenty acres enclosed by a stone wall.

Unique features of the building are its extensive armorial frieze on the north side and exuberant flushwork decoration. It is thought that the stone used in the building of the priory came from the valley of the Yonne in France, and that it was brought up the Butley River on barges. A canal was cut to bring the stone to the wharf only 200 yards south of the Priory church. The plan of the original site is known from the excavations carried out in 1930 by Montague Rendell, scholar and ex-headmaster of Winchester, who bought the gatehouse in 1926.

Such was Dr. Rendall's passion for the building that he spent his last penny on the restoration work, and was forced to sell the property in his later years to Sir Bernard Greenwell Bart, who generously allowed him to live out his life at Butley. The present tenants, the Cavendish family, have lived here since 1987 and are continuing the process of making the gatehouse into a comfortable family home.

This property is viewable only through Invitation to View

Tour features

Tour led by historian of the interior of the house, including the great hall, drawing room and kitchen which all have vaulted ceilings, first floor bedrooms with impressive arched windows, and front exterior, which has the armorial frieze. Walks around the south garden, grounds and monks’ fish ponds.

Directions

The postcode should work on sat navs. For those without, from Woodbridge head towards Melton and past the railway station on your right. Follow this road to the small roundabout and go left, then follow the road for approx. 3 miles past Bromeswell rugby club and through the forest. The turning is the next right after the Rendlesham Forest Centre turning and is signposted Butley Priory.

Coaches are requested to drop passengers at the end of the drive, because the driveways are not suitable for large vehicles.

Refreshements

Tea, coffee and biscuits.

Access notes

Ground floor access only and there are some small ledges/steps to get over.

Restrictions

None. As part of the tour is outside, please bring suitable outdoor clothing and footwear.

 

Interested? Click the button below to see available dates. If you're a member and are logged in you'll be able to see the discounted option also.


Opening
Opening

2019 tour dates

  • 21 May
  • 21 June
  • 11 September
  • 8 October
  • 12 November

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Historic Houses members get discounts on all Invitation to View tours. Open the login page as a new tab, login, then refresh this page, or click login then search for this property using the search bar at the top.

 

Admission
Admission

All 2019 tours are £18.50 per person, with a discount for Historic Houses members.


Upcoming events

10 Sep 2019

Butley Priory, nr Woodbridge

The grade-I listed gatehouse of Butley Priory, built under prior William de Geystone (1311-1322), is virtually all that remains of the Augustinian Priory founded here in 1171. It lies deep in the sandy heathlands of east Suffolk, and originally comprised a magnificent collection of buildings, covering an area of twenty acres enclosed by a stone wall.

Unique features of the building are its extensive armorial frieze on the north side and exuberant flushwork decoration. It is thought that the stone used in the building of the priory came from the valley of the Yonne in France, and that it was brought up the Butley River on barges. A canal was cut to bring the stone to the wharf only 200 yards south of the Priory church. The plan of the original site is known from the excavations carried out in 1930 by Montague Rendell, scholar and ex-headmaster of Winchester, who bought the gatehouse in 1926.

Such was Dr. Rendall's passion for the building that he spent his last penny on the restoration work, and was forced to sell the property in his later years to Sir Bernard Greenwell Bart, who generously allowed him to live out his life at Butley. The present tenants, the Cavendish family, have lived here since 1987 and are continuing the process of making the gatehouse into a comfortable family home.