Page updated 22 November 2008
This Benedictine nunnery was also known as St Katherine's Priory. It was founded around about 1159 and dissolved in 1539. The original priory consisted of four main buildings around a quadrangle or cloister. At its dissolution by Henry VIII in 1536, three of the buildings, including the church and refectory were demolished. The surviving building is the main part of the west range which was originally built in local breccia and then rebuilt in 1300 in local sandstone. It ground floor was used as a storeroom with a parlour, while the upper floor was accommodation with a garderobe.
The first buildings were of timber, but were quickly replaced by more substantial structures. The main buildings were rebuilt in the 14th-century and then the priory started to contract. The surviving building is thought to date from 1310 to 1330 and had upper guest rooms. It has a 13th-century fireplace and has two stone corbels, of the same age, one of a man's head and the other, a woman's both with carved head-dresses. There was a burial ground and excavations have uncovered human remains.
The deer-park for the Priory stretched as far as Mount Pleasant. The owners of the Exeter Brick and Tile Company, brothers A and H Bradbeer, purchased the Priory early in the 20th-century. When they realised its historical importance, they gave it to the city in 1934. It was used as a store and then from 1980, a community centre. It was recently sold to a private buyer, but still seems to be used by the community.
The priory was excavated during 1976-77 by Exeter
original cob wall that surrounded the Priory still exists, and the
visitor passes through an ancient entrance gate into the grounds.
Polsloe Priory or St Katherine's circa 1920. Polsloe Priory is now a community centre.
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