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Much Wenlock Priory is a ruined 12th century church, located in Much Wenlockmarker, Shropshiremarker, at . The church was a part of the Cluniacmarker monastery, which was refounded in 1079 and 1082, on the site of an earlier 7th century foundation, by Roger de Montgomery. It is thought to be the final resting place of Saint Milburga, whose bones were reputedly discovered during restoration work in 1101. Today, Wenlock Priory is used mostly for recreational purposes. The grounds have a collection of topiary.

History

Early history

Merewalh, King of the Magonsaete founded the original Anglo-Saxon monastery here circa 680 and Merewalh's daughter quickly became its abbess, and was later canonised. After her death circa 727, however, little is historically known of the monastery until the Norman Conquest. It is known that the priory was inhabited by monks until after the Norman conquest. In the 12th century, the abbey was replaced by a Cluniacmarker priory for men.

Following the reformation of the monastery, in the early fourteenth century, the priory church was lavishly and completely rebuilt, and at today, considerable remains are left of the 350ft long church, including the north and south transept and the nave.

Around the Priory, the town of Much Wenlockmarker was formed. The town is made up of a small network of intricate, narrow streets lined with timber-framed black and white buildings. Within the town is the well of St Milburga of Wenlock which was said to have cured sight impairments and helped Victorian women find a suitor.

Dissolution

Following the dissolution in 1540, several buildings, including the late 15th century Priors House were converted into a private residence. It remains inhabited to this day, and so is not accessible, however the fine architecture can still be seen and incorporates Norman and 15th century work. This gives us a clue of how grand the original priory church would have been.

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