Built by Augustinian monks in the 13th century, and surrounded by England’s longest medieval filled water moat, the beautiful Michaelham Priory is nestled within a seven-acre garden in Cuckmere Valley, and holds stories to share from over 800 years.
Since its construction by a group of Augustinians in 1229, Michelham has been moulded across the ages. Owned in Tudor times by Thomas Cromwell and Anne of Cleves, by World War II it became a shelter for those seeking respite from the war, and in later life as a country house. Its interactive rooms include Victorian and Tudor kitchens, an evacuee’s bedroom from the Second World War, a Prior’s room, and an Undercroft. Within these rooms are exhibitions and activities to explore - including hands-on furniture and artifact activities, as well as dressing up clothes for visiting children. If you really want to try your hand at medieval pastimes, the House hosts weekend archery classes on the lawn, and you can watch the millers and blacksmith at work at the historic watermill and forge.
Beyond the house and its watermill and forge, discover a church, dovecote shop, a 14th-century gatehouse, along with a Bronze Age roundhouse, an Elizabethan Barn, a chapterhouse, and a dormitory. The grounds also include a courtyard cafe, which sources ingredients from the Priory’s medieval herb garden, and a playground.
The 13th-century moat combines both Medieval and modern, with a Hortus Conclusus - an enclosed, spiritual orchard - and a nature conservation area. Here live dragonflies, kingfishers, woodpeckers, and cuckoos, among the swathes of yellow fringed lilies and purple loosestrife indigenous water plants.
Michelham Priory is reachable by walking and cycling routes from within the stunning surrounds of the Cuckmere Valley, as well as the nearby Berwick and Polegate train stations.
In half terms, Michelham Priory is open between 11:00 - 16:00 every day.
Between 1st March - 30th September, 10:30 - 17:00 every day.
Between 1st October - 30th November, 11:00 - 16:00 every day.
Between 1st - 20th December, weekends only, 11:00 - 16:00.
Michelham Priory is open throughout the year for groups, school groups, events and weddings.