Barns and Buildings

The Priory’s barns and farm buildings

As well as the church and the buildings where the canons (monks) lived on the south side of the church, the Priory had many other buildings linked to its farming operations. There were farms run directly from the Priory, by local people employed by the canons, and many other farms in the area which the Priory owned. Much of the corn and other produce from all these farms would have been stored in the great Tithe Barn on High Green. Can we work out from old documents how big these were?

The barns

This description is taken from the valuation made before the Priory was destroyed (‘dissolved’) by order of King Henry VIII. Click on the thumb-nail to read the document.


It’m. It’ = Item (used in a list) Breddith = breadth (width) Est = East M’ks = marks, probably 1/3 of a £1 Pac’s = Paces: one pace is 5 feet Garnerd = small barn or shed

Suggested Activity:

  • Work out the length and width of the buildings in metres
The picture below, which is taken from the model in the Priory, shows how the barns may have looked.

Priory Mills

In the 16th Century there were 5 mills in the Bridlington Township. There were 2 mills on the Gypsy race, one hard by the sea shore (probably the one now known as Lowson’s or Victoria Mills) and the other where the Little Beck crosses the Bridlington to Driffield Road (Boulevard) and three windmills, Convent, Colome and Bridge Mill and all were owned by the Priory. (See Port Resort and Market Town by David Neave pages 44/45)

The picture below shows one of the mills - possibly “Colome Mill” in the East Field and maybe a watermill in the far distance.

Barley was the main crop on the Wolds and is accounted for almost two thirds of the corn grown on the Priory’s grange at Burton Fleming in 1355-6. It was used extensively for bread making and stock feed but also its main use was for malting and brewing ale. The Priory had a malt house, possibly the vast malt kiln that stood on the North side of the Church yard and a large brew house.

Water Supply

No definite details although there were and still are springs around the Scarborough Roundabout which run down through the cellars of their houses in Market place and also run along the house yards in High Street.

It is also likely that the spring and pond , now called Green Dyke were used.

Fish Ponds

A pond about 370 paces in length, called the Great Pond, held a variety of fish, but perhaps carp, is now filled in and was where the College has recently been built. The archaeologists did check this area prior to building the college and still found water very near the surface of the ground level. It is probable that this water drained down to the harbour via culverts (Not Tunnels) It is also likely that fish would be obtained from the harbour at Bridlington and Flamborough.

Other Consumables

The Saturday Market was, and is still, held for 800 years but has now long since gone from Market Place and also High Street, and was where one could buy meat, vegetables, eggs, butter, fruit, soap boiling, even hats and other necessities. A Saturday market of course still takes place in the Quay

There was also a corn market in Market Place.

It must be remembered that the Old Town was developed primarily to support the Priory, so that not only were food stuffs supplied but also the number of trades people as well i.e. carpenters, candle makers, blacksmiths, agricultural workers etc and the many “yards” in the Old Town were places where these people lived.

Who depended on the Priory?

It was not just the Canons, but the lay brethren, pilgrims, visiting dignitaries and the poor, so that is why they needed such a large barn to keep the Priory’s population going throughout the year. There were estimated to be, in addition to the Prior and Canons who numbered from 15 to 26, probably at least 3 times that many lay brothers, household servants and agricultural workers, all relying on the Priory for their food and livelihood. This does not include all the people of “Old Town” who provided goods and services as well.


- So how did all these Bridlington people survive after the dissolution of the Priory? Did they for instance;
  • all become very poor (as many did)?
  • some start up new businesses, which the Priory had originally supplied e.g. produce “small beer”, bread and malting rye?
  • look for new “markets” further away
  • move away altogether?
Think up as many possibilities as you can.