At the foot of the South Downs near Chichester, the looming ruins of an ancient monastery stand proudly beside the local church.
Boxgrove Priory was built at the beginning of the 12th century and has been part of the village ever since.
Its remains are large and striking, and not to mention full of history.
From humble to huge
Boxgrove Priory started out as a cell of the French abbey in Normandy, but in the 14th century when Edward III cracked down on monastic properties belonging to France, it became independent.
It might seem ludicrous given the size of the ruins here, but the priory was actually built for just three monks.
It gradually attracted more residents over time, of course, and eventually would become the parish church of Boxgrove - in fact, some of the buildings are still in use today.
Dilapidated but divine
What remains of Boxgrove Priory is a lodging house and some of the original church and chapter house.
Their crumbling ruins are grouped together in a pleasant field, with the distinctive lodging house slightly further away.
The lodging-house would have been two stories, and parts of it are still at their full height today - we’re sure you’ll be blown away by the size of it.
Parts of the priory still survive in the modern-day parish church, which also contains a model replica of how Boxgrove Priory would have looked in its prime many centuries ago.
This model should help you imagine this place in its heyday before it fell into ruin, full of monks going about their daily business and worship.
A hotspot for history
If you enjoy the priory and you want to see more of England’s historic sites, it’s in a great spot between two castles.
To the east, you can find the remains of Bramber Castle built by William the Conqueror, while in the west there’s also Portchester Castle, a huge seaside Saxon fortress.
For fans of history, visiting these places is a great next step after you’re done exploring Boxgrove Priory.