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The Priory
History - text by Simon Donoghue & Don Tait

The Priory was not a monastic building as the name might suggest, but had been built around 1840, possibly as a dower house for the widows of the Neave baronets. Red brick and in a mixture of Tudor and Gothic styles, the Priory reflected Sir Thomas Neave’s passion for the 19th century Gothic Revival - even down to the ‘fake ruins’ in the sunken garden at the front of the house. The Priory had as many as forty rooms and stood near the junction of Wrightsbridge Road and Noak Hill Road within 41 acres of woodland with a lake.

The gardens, maintained by three gardeners, were occasionally opened to the public in aid of a charity by the Marriotts who lived in the Priory during the thirties and forties. Mrs. Marriott was heavily involved in village life, particularly with the church where she was churchwarden between 1939 and 1949. The Priory grounds were also used for a production of Twelfth Night by the local amateur dramatic group, the Rustics, in which Mary Marriott played the part of Olivia.
In 1946 the Priory was sold to the London County Council. The property was then let to various tenants, usually for short periods. Attempts to sell the house may have been hindered by the estimated £300 needed to install electricity and gas. Wartime bomb damage, an attempt to steal the lead from the roof and years of general neglect all contributed to the final decision to demolish the Priory in 1956, a sad loss to the local landscape.

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