Monastic History Hull and East Riding 13.
The photo. above, credited to Dr. B. English, is of the ‘former prior’s lodging, Watton, photographed in 1989′ and scanned from p. 29 of Claire Cross’ book (s.p.b.s). This building still stands and, I believe, is still lived-in as a private residence. It is the only standing building remaining from the complex of buildings that up to the Reformation comprised the ‘double’ monastic house at Watton on the edge of the Hull Valley between Beverley and Driffield.
Watton Priory was attached to the Gilbertine monastic order, so named after the order was established in Lincolnshire c.1140 by Gilbert of Sempringham (village of Sempringham in Kestevan, east of Grantham). The Gilbertine Order was the only monastic order to have originated in England and comprised a complex of buildings for canons and another for nuns but side-by-side with much of the day-to-day work done by lay-brothers and lay-sisters. Watton was to become the largest house of the Gilbertine Order. Although it is only uneven ground that gives clues to the layout of the buildings today it was thoroughly excavated and written-up by two amateur archaeologists in the 1890s. The nun’s buildings were on the west side of the complex centred around a cloister with a large Norman church to its south, this divided by an east to west wall down its centre to divide the half for the nuns and the other for the monks. The monks complex was east of the church with a cloister in the centre. Gilbert was an admirer of the Cistercian Order but, although at Watton the nuns and monks were to always be physically separate, the duality of the site wasn’t acceptable to them.
A similar regime exists in Hull Prison where two populations of prisoners have to be kept physically always apart even though they are on the same site.