Wenhaston Archive Project History Notes

History Note No.24: Blythburgh Priory

History Note No.24: Blythburgh Priory
The story of St Osyth and of the Priory at Blythburgh

In the 7th century, Osyth, the wife of the King of Essex, founded a convent. Danish invaders captured her and tried to make her renounce her faith. This she refused to do, so they cut off her head. The story goes that she carried her head back to the convent where she died. The Priory of St Osyth held land around Blythburgh and around 1125 an Augustian Priory was founded at Blythburgh by the monks from St Osyth.

Although fairly well-off at the start, the value of this Priory steadily decreased as time went by, and by the time it was suppressed on 12th February 1537 it was owing money. The Prior John Righton, was granted a pension of £6, but the other three canons John Baker, George Thurston, and Robert Sprot received nothing. The total value was given as £8.2s.8d including 40 shillings for five horses and an old cart.

During its lifetime the Priory became Patron of St Peter"s Wenhaston, and this fact is shown by the carving of St. Osyth on the right hand side of the chancel arch. On the left hand side of the arch facing the altar is St Peter.

When the Doom painting was discovered in 1892 it was suggested that a monk from Blythburgh Priory had painted it. This was disproved by later research.