Merton Priory Chapter House is arguably one of the most important heritage sites in England, linked to the origin of English Law and the likes of King John, King Henry VIII and Thomas Beckett.
This Scheduled Ancient Monument is 900 years old and from 1114 until its dissolution in 1538, Merton Priory was one of the country’s biggest and most influential monastic houses.
All that remains today are the extensive foundations of its substantial and historically important Chapter House, hidden beneath a concrete underpass between a Pizza Hut and Sainsbury’s car park.
Lack of resources has meant that the Chapter House and its archaeological relics haven’t been regularly accessible to the public. However through a dedicated group of local enthusiasts, which was formalised in 2003 as the Merton Priory Trust, a variety of open days, craft demonstrations, drama productions, art exhibitions, popular religious events and many school visits have been held, making it an object of great fascination to visitors of all ages and disciplines, local and international alike.
Merton Priory Chapter House is truly an extraordinarily precious survival in the most surreal suburban setting, requiring suitable facilities to give it the public attention it deserves!
This project aims to:
Stabilise and preserve the remains of the Priory.
Enhance their setting and establish a modern educational and events centre.
Adapt and extend existing facilities to create a state-of-the-art space for the presentation and interpretation of the archaeological remains of Merton Priory and the wider site.
Negotiate the return of some of the surviving artefacts from the Museum of London Archives and display them for the benefit of residents and visitors.
The contract has officially been granted to the award-winning construction services company, HA Marks, who will begin work on-site at the end of October 2017 with construction due for completion and the centre set to open in Spring 2018! This ambitious project is a collaboration between the Merton Priory Trust, Marcus Beales Architects (Project Managers) and co-funders the Living Wandle Partnership and Merton Borough Council.
The Chapter House will be closed until all works are completed in Spring 2018. You can learn more about the planned transformations by watching this fascinating documentary created by a team of Groundwork London volunteers.
This project is part of the wider Living Wandle Landscape Partnership Scheme, supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund.