Definition of priory in English:



  • A small monastery or nunnery that is governed by a prior or prioress.

    • ‘Nostell Priory takes its name from a priory located in the vicinity for several centuries until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 1530s.’
    • ‘All the concerts are set in ancient churches, abbeys and priories, with thick stonewalls, arches and vaulted domes, which provide a uniquely peaceful atmosphere and excellent acoustics.’
    • ‘The priory was destroyed in the Reformation but was rebuilt as a private home in 1821 and has since housed convalescing miners, injured soldiers and, after standing empty for five years, the Buddhist community.’
    • ‘Now, in a determined bid to preserve the priory, fund-raisers have set about to gather the remaining £75,000 towards the £195,000 restoration.’
    • ‘After 1436 he worked extensively at the priory of S. Marco in Florence, and from c. 1445 was a good deal occupied in Rome, also painting in Orvieto in 1447.’
    • ‘The buildings were originally an Augustinian priory built in the twelfth century to which the O'Cahan clan had added a medieval tower-house.’
    • ‘A few years after, and probably in response to, the foundation of the abbey, this church became an Augustinian priory.’
    • ‘St. Gobban, around the close of the 6th century founded the first of the Christian churches here, a priory for the Canons regular.’
    • ‘The students would stay at the thirteenth-century Dominican priory while the brothers took a brief holiday; Mass would be said each day in the priory's chapter room.’
    • ‘The outcome of this initiative was probably the foundation of a Canterbury priory at Dunfermline, the first ‘regular’ Benedictine house in the Scottish kingdom.’
    • ‘After more than a decade in storage at the priory, formed in 1189, the small pieces of glass have been worked back into the top sections of the Piper Choir Windows at the popular place of worship.’
    • ‘There is much to explore here with the foundations of the monastic priory buildings still clearly visible to the south of the church.’
    • ‘The site acquired by Bishop Losinga was unusually large; he envisaged not only a cathedral but also a priory for 60 Benedictine monks and an episcopal palace.’
    • ‘Heather Sebire, the Guernsey archaeologist, has been leading a team exposing and making safe the crumbling ruins of the priory itself with its tiny church and the domestic buildings where the monks ate and slept.’
    • ‘Others included walks from Iona to Holy Island, Canterbury to York, and around the monasteries, abbeys and priories of Yorkshire.’
    • ‘Lindisfarne became a place of pilgrimage during the priory's ‘golden age’ in the seventh century and all the tourism literature boasts it has remained so ever since.’
    • ‘Amongst monasteries a priory was generally a smaller foundation than an abbey and was in many cases a monastery of monks subordinate to an abbey.’
    • ‘He was, after all, a district vicar in the Augustinian Order in charge of ten priories and a Bible professor on the theological faculty at the University of Wittenberg.’
    • ‘After his recovery, Abelard resumed teaching at a nearby priory, primarily on theology and in particular on the Trinity.’
    • ‘Large monasteries were known as abbeys, whilst smaller ones were called priories and were often set up near an abbey.’
    religious house, religious community, abbey, cloister
    monastery, friary
    convent, nunnery
    coenobium, coenoby, beguinage
    View synonyms


Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French priorie, medieval Latin prioria, from Latin prior elder, superior (see prior).