Numerous skeletons of sexually perverse Nuns discovered in Oxford
Things that may have taken place in the Priory. A medieval monk seduces a nun, who becomes pregnant and has an illegitimate baby. She sinfully disposes of the baby in the privy. From the Miracles de Notre Dame, The Hague Kb. 71 a 24 (from the year 1327). ( pastisaforegincountry.blogspot.com)
Horde reported that Wells used excessive punishments against the other nuns, particularly when they criticized her misbehavior. Wells had responded to this by putting them in the stocks. Horde heard that at least one woman seeking to become a nun had been so appalled at the prioress’s behavior that she had turned away from the priory and gone somewhere else.
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Wells had sought to cover up her misdeeds by ordering the nuns to tell Horde that everything was in order, however when she was summoned to appear before Bishop Atwater, she confessed that her misbehavior had been going on for the past eight years. Her daughter had died by then but she had given some of the stolen plate to the priest from Kent. Atwater deposed her, but allowed her to remain as prioress for a certain amount of time on condition that she report to Horde before making any firm decisions on behalf of the priory.
Atwater later visited the priory himself and discovered that Wells had not ceased her errant behavior. Not only had she put one of the nuns in the stocks but she had also assaulted another by kicking her and punching her in the head. Wells attempted to defend herself by stating that another nun had been romping with boys in the cloister forcing Wells to put her in the stocks. However, the three other nuns had released her, burning the stocks after they had done so and jumping out of a window. They had run off to friends nearby where they had remained for around three weeks.
Depiction of St Anne with a baby and her midwife, by Ranworth Antiphoner, fifteenth Century. ( manysnoweballes.blogspot.com)
The records of the priory cease after 1518 but according to Page’s history Cardinal Wolsey recommended that the priory be dissolved. This recommendation was granted the year after with the prioress being given a pension of £6 13 shillings and 4 pence. The only surviving part of the building is the derelict Priory pub which was vandalized by football fans in 2013.
Researchers at Reading University are now analyzing the remains to learn more about the burials, after which they will be reinterred on consecrated ground.
Featured Image: Archaeologists came across a number of skeletons, thought to be of the nuns at the Priory of Sandford, believed to have behaved out of order and then died in disgrace following accusations made of their odd sexual behavior. The nunnery was shut down in 1524 ( news.discovery.com)