Overview

Welcome to England’s longest medieval water filled moat. This picturesque island offers a great day out for all the family.

Discover 800 years of history at Michelham: from its foundation by Augustinian canons, through the dissolution of the monasteries into its later life as a country house.

Seven acres of stunning grounds include kitchen, physic and medieval herb gardens dotted about with beautiful modern sculptures. Visit the historic watermill, forge and interactive medieval gallery in the 14th century gatehouse. Children can enjoy playing in the replica Bronze Age roundhouse, play area. Trails and hands-on activities available throughout the house.


Today
Today’s opening hours

Open daily from 15th February to 18th December.

10.30am to 5pm daily with seasonal variations.

Opening
Opening

2020

Open daily from 15th February to 18th December.

10.30am to 5pm daily with seasonal variations.

From August 2020

Dogs will be allowed in afternoons only 1.30 – 5.00 and must be kept on short leads.

Maximum of 2 dogs per family and there will be a minimal charge of 50p per dog.

Find Us
Find us

8 miles North West of Eastbourne off the A22/A27.

The nearest train station is at Polegate. Please be aware that there is no direct bus to the site.

Admission
Admission

Historic Houses members visit for free.

Adult £10.80
Child (5-16) £5.40
Student / Senior £9.70
Carer Free
Family £27.75 (2 adults and up to 4 children)

Group Visits
Group Visits

Groups of 15 or more receive a discounted admission price when booked in advance.

Guided house or garden tours can also be arranged prior to your visit. We are also able to pre-book meals or refreshments in the cafe.

Please contact us for a group booking form.

Please check the website for further information, admission times and details for our special events

Visit website

Weddings

You will never find a more romantic venue for your special day, with excellent service in an historic and peaceful setting. The stunning Elizabethan Barn can seat up to one hundred and thirty, yet smaller groups can comfortably be accommodated in its atmospheric and flexible space.

Michelham Priory is set in the beautiful Cuckmore Valley in East Sussex close to the South Downs. Wedding ceremonies and receptions take place in the grand grade listed Elizabethan Barn full of original features and charm.

Just outside is the beautiful moat terrace where the drinks receptions take place with romantic views overlooking the stunning Priory house, historic watermill and the largest moat in England.

Facilities

  • Suppliers list
  • Accessible parking
  • In-house catering

Corporate Hire

Corporate events

We host  a variety of private functions, ceremonies and parties at Michelham Priory from birthday parties and anniversary parties to balls and banquet evenings to wakes, naming ceremonies and blessings to book readings, workshops and academic lectures to corporate functions.

Whatever your event we would loved to host your day for you at Michelham Priory.

Find out more on our website.

Facilities

  • Projector and screen
  • Refreshments
  • Accessible toilets
  • Plentiful parking
  • Lunch

Today
Today’s opening hours

Open daily from 15th February to 18th December.

10.30am to 5pm daily with seasonal variations.

Opening
Opening

2020

Open daily from 15th February to 18th December.

10.30am to 5pm daily with seasonal variations.

From August 2020

Dogs will be allowed in afternoons only 1.30 – 5.00 and must be kept on short leads.

Maximum of 2 dogs per family and there will be a minimal charge of 50p per dog.

Find Us
Find us

8 miles North West of Eastbourne off the A22/A27.

The nearest train station is at Polegate. Please be aware that there is no direct bus to the site.

Admission
Admission

Historic Houses members visit for free.

Adult £10.80
Child (5-16) £5.40
Student / Senior £9.70
Carer Free
Family £27.75 (2 adults and up to 4 children)

Group Visits
Group Visits

Groups of 15 or more receive a discounted admission price when booked in advance.

Guided house or garden tours can also be arranged prior to your visit. We are also able to pre-book meals or refreshments in the cafe.

Please contact us for a group booking form.

Other opening


School Visits

The friendly education team offer a wide range of customised activity days enabling children to discover the past using drama, hands on activities, challenges, costumes, tours, artefact handling and demonstrations in the forge and watermill.

For more information, please see our website


Michelham Priory's history and features

The Augustinian Priory of the Holy Trinity was founded at Michelham in 1229 by Gilbert de Aquila, whose father had been a benefactor of Bayham Abbey in Kent and also had connections to Otham Abbey in East Sussex. Michelham was a daughter house of Hastings Priory.

All Gilbert's lands and honours were forfeited in 1235 as punishment for his going to Normandy without licence from King Henry III.

In 1278 and again in 1287, the prior was fined for exercising illegal privileges. On 26 June 1283, John de Kyrkeby renounced his election as Bishop of Rochester at Michelham Priory before John Peckham, Archbishop of Canterbury.

King Edward I stayed overnight at the priory on 14 September 1302. In 1353, the prior was fined 40d because a bridge at Rickney was broken and blocking the river. By 1398, the priory was reported to be in a ruinous condition. Robert Reade, bishop of Chichester, granted the advowsons of Alfriston and Fletching to Michelham Priory in that year.

The Priory was seized in 1537 under Henry VIII during the Dissolution of the monasteries. The priory, and its possessions, was then granted to Thomas Cromwell. Following Cromwell's execution in 1540, it was granted to Anne of Cleves. Part of it was leased to Thomas Culpeper, with the greater part of the site passing to William, Earl of Arundel. In 1544, Henry, Earl of Arundel exchanged Michelham Priory with Queen Mary for other property. In 1556, the priory was sold to John Foote and John Roberts for £1,249 16s 10d. Foote alienated the manor and hundred of Michelham Parkegate to Ambrose Smythe in 1574. In 1584, Smythe granted it to John Morely and Elizabeth, his wife. Morley granted the priory to Herbert Pelham in 1587.


Fun Facts
England’s longest medieval water filled moat surrounds the site which dates back to 1229.