The differentiation between a priory and an abbey is not always easy to understand. It appears that with the Norman Conquest came the setting up of small estates across England to protect their foreign endowments. These estates were often referred to as 'priories' but had little to do with missionary work. Later many castle chapels were served by monks and this resulted in the founding of many independent priories. More commonly, the priory was an offshoot, or sub-house, of an abbey.

The Prior was responsible for the community of canons, friars or monks in his house, but he reported directly to the abbey. Not unlike some of the old abbey churches, a few of the priory churches have survived as parish churches. In other instances, only fragments remain, standing in isolation or as a 'romantic' feature of a former country mansion. At Llantony the ruins provide an evocative backdrop to a small hotel.

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Wenlock Priory, Shropshire
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Wenlock Priory
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