Numerous skeletons of sexually perverse Nuns discovered in Oxford

Numerous skeletons of sexually perverse Nuns discovered in Oxford

(Read the article on one page)

Archaeologists have discovered the skeletons of a number of ‘sex-obsessed’ nuns who were eventually punished for their sins by having their priory dissolved and their prioress pensioned off.

The team of archaeologists from John Moore Heritage Services discovered the skeletons of a total of 92 nuns at Littlemore Priory in Oxfordshire, dating from the time the priory was founded in 1110 to its dissolution by Cardinal Wolsey in 1525. The skeletons were found in a burial ground surrounding the site of the priory which is now being used for the construction of a new hotel. “Burials within the church are likely to represent wealthy or eminent individuals, nuns and prioresses”, said Paul Murray, currently leading the team. “Those buried outside most likely represent the laity with a general desire to be buried as close to the religious heart of the church as possible.”

Most of the burials were female, 35 individuals in total. Another 28 were male with a final 29 remaining unidentifiable. A 45 year old female, who had been buried in a stone coffin at the center of the cross of the transepts in the old priory, was probably the prioress. Some of the skeletons displayed signs of disease, including leprosy, while two children suffered from developmental dysplasia of the hip. The archaeologists also found a stillborn baby in a casket and a woman buried face-down. Mr. Murray said that the face-down position was probably a penitential act to atone for her sins. She may therefore have been one of the sinful nuns who had, according to surviving records, provoked Cardinal Wolsey into dissolving the priory and pensioning off the prioress. Eileen Power mentions the priory in her book Medieval English Nunneries as one of the worst establishments in the country at the time.

According to W. H. Page’s A History of the County of Oxford , Littlemore Priory was a Benedictine house founded by Robert de Sandford, a knight in the service of the Abbot of Abingdon. The priory was constructed on pasture land in the village of Sandford during the reign of King Stephen and was initially named Sandford Priory, acquiring the name Littlemore from the mid-13 th century. It received royal favor from Henry III during the early years of his reign but was dissolved in 1525 by Henry VIII.

Portrait of King Henry VIII of England. Dissolved the Sandford Priory. Painted by Hans Holbein the Younger, circa 1537. Currently on display at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum ( Wikimedia Commons )

Today known by the name Minchery farmhouse, previously known as Sandford Priory, Littlemore, Oxford. It was the dormitory of the Benedictine nuns of the Priory of St. Nicholas.

Today known by the name Minchery farmhouse, previously known as Sandford Priory, Littlemore, Oxford. It was the dormitory of the Benedictine nuns of the Priory of St. Nicholas. Photo by Nigel Cox ( en.wikipedia.org)

By 1245 the priory appears to have fallen into disrepair, since a papal bull was issued by Pope Innocent in that year awarding, for a period of three years, an indulgence of ten days to anyone who helped the nuns complete the rebuilding of the priory, as they were not able to complete the work themselves.

At the time of the visit in 1445 of Dr John Derby, commissary of the Bishop of Lincoln, the priory housed seven nuns, all of whom refused to sleep in the nunnery for fear it would collapse in on them. They also broke their rule by eating meat every day in the refectory. Three lay women were also accommodated at the priory, and they did sleep in the nunnery, one of them paying 8 pence a week and the other two 4 pence a week.

In 1517, the reputation of the nuns caused Edmund Horde to visit the priory on behalf of the Bishop of Lincoln, the post by then being occupied by William Atwater. Horde discovered that the prioress had an illegitimate daughter by a priest from Kent by the name of Richard Hewes. He continued to visit her following the birth of the child. Katherine Wells, the last prioress, was deposed of the position as punishment for committing a number of misdeeds, had also stolen the priory’s valuables, including most of the jewels, which she pawned in order to raise money for a dowry. The nuns were left without any money for food, clothing or general costs. Horde also discovered that within the previous year another of the nuns had had an illegitimate child, the father this time being a married man from Oxford.

Comments

What does this have to do with ancient origins? Please stay on task.

Ducking stool or extinction. It really is your choice.

not so perverse, but rather unskillful…. sounds alot like some of those reality shows…..

I think a lot of women became nuns and men became monks not because they were devout but because it provided food and a roof in very hard times. If you weren't particularly religious you'd be less inclined to see the pleasures of the flesh as quite so sinful, especially when other pleasures were so few.

You've got to be kidding. The prioress put her fellow nuns in stocks! THAT is totally degrading and disgusting. For you to defend her behavior is the same as condoning it. She also punched and kicked a fellow member of her religious order. And you think that's okay? That she was somehow coerced into doing that? You are out of your tree with your feminist baloney.

Pages

Register to become part of our active community, get updates, receive a monthly newsletter, and enjoy the benefits and rewards of our member point system OR just post your comment below as a Guest.

Top New Stories

“Lord Rama got fed up with asking a non-responding Varuna (God of the oceans) to help him and took up the Brahmastra.” (Fair Use) Ram Setu – a natural phenomenon or perhaps a manmade bridge built to save a queen?
Built by a king and his army to save a queen from the clutches of a rival? Or maybe a bridge to a land which led Adam to his atonement? While both of these ideas are far-fetched, current research suggests the Ram Setu link between India and Sri Lanka is not natural as most people have been told to believe, but is a man-made bridge which is thousands of years old.

Human Origins

Map of sites and postulated migratory pathways associated with modern humans dispersing across Asia during the Late Pleistocene.
Most people are now familiar with the traditional "Out of Africa" model: modern humans evolved in Africa and then dispersed across Asia and reached Australia in a single wave about 60,000 years ago. However, technological advances in DNA analysis and other fossil identification techniques, as well as an emphasis on multidisciplinary research

Ancient Technology

Ancient Places

Pictorial representation of Pyramid in Teuchitlán Guachimontones Museum.
Guachimontones (known alternatively as Huachimontones) is an archaeological site located in the western Mexican state of Jalisco. This is an important site of the Teuchitlan tradition, which was a pre-Columbian complex society that flourished in the western part of Mexico (occupying territories in the modern Mexican states of Jalisco and Nayarit).

Our Mission

At Ancient Origins, we believe that one of the most important fields of knowledge we can pursue as human beings is our beginnings. And while some people may seem content with the story as it stands, our view is that there exists countless mysteries, scientific anomalies and surprising artifacts that have yet to be discovered and explained.

The goal of Ancient Origins is to highlight recent archaeological discoveries, peer-reviewed academic research and evidence, as well as offering alternative viewpoints and explanations of science, archaeology, mythology, religion and history around the globe.

We’re the only Pop Archaeology site combining scientific research with out-of-the-box perspectives.

By bringing together top experts and authors, this archaeology website explores lost civilizations, examines sacred writings, tours ancient places, investigates ancient discoveries and questions mysterious happenings. Our open community is dedicated to digging into the origins of our species on planet earth, and question wherever the discoveries might take us. We seek to retell the story of our beginnings. 

Ancient Image Galleries

View from the Castle Gate (Burgtor). (Public Domain)
Door surrounded by roots of Tetrameles nudiflora in the Khmer temple of Ta Phrom, Angkor temple complex, located today in Cambodia. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Cable car in the Xihai (West Sea) Grand Canyon (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Next article