The Priory was duly built, as was an Abbey at Laycock and Ela herself is said
to have attended the dedication ofboth establishments on the same day in 1232,
spending the morning in Laycock and riding over to Hinton in the afternoon. The
deer park provided the monks with a high outer boundary wall which seems to have
lasted for the whole of their time at Hinton. Even to-day these boundaries, imposed
on Hinton for at least 400 years, can be seen in the shape of the village.
The Carthusians belonged to one of the most austere Orders; founded by St. Bruno
in 1090, it had its roots in the solitary hermits who frequented deserts and bleak
mountainous regions. Their cloisters were surrounded by little four roomed cottages
rather than the traditional cells. Their church was small and they ate together
infrequently. Their diet was almost vegetarian -no flesh allowed although they
had fish and cheese on feast days. In the 1950's when Major Philip Fletcher owned
the Priory, he carried out excavations over several summers and identified the
extent of the cloister and uncovered a number of the cells. At the present time
it is not possible to see over the ruins.
Hinton Priory was only the second Carthusian foundation in England -the fIrst
being at Witham. These two earliest foundations followed the Continental pattern
and each had a Correrie at some distance from the Priory .Here the lay-brothers
lived with their own cells and church and it was via the Correrie that all visitors
would have had to approach the Priory and gain permission to proceed. The Correrie
at Hinton is ,about half a mile from the Priory at a place now known as Friary
Green in a wooded area near the river Frome. It is however thought that the Correrie
ceased to be used by the lay-bothers after a hundred years of so, when they may
have moved to the Priory itself.
The Priory's land in Hinton was farmed from the Grange Farm which was on the site
of the present Hinton House. The Carthusians had a similar Grange in Norton St.
Philip and also owned water mills in Hinton, Midford, and Iford. Over the years
they were given land in surrounding villages and they also owned sheep runs at
Green Ore where they may have had a small cell.
At the Dissolution the Priory buildings were largely demolished and a few years
later a house was built around the Gate House and eventually came into the hands
of the Hungerfords. The Grange seems to have remained a large farm until about
1700 when it too was demolished and was rebuilt as a gentleman's residence by
its new owner, John Harding. T