April 15, 2018

Hirst Priory – History & Occupants

By Angus

Hirst priory is located two miles south of Crowle, owever strictly it is located in teh Parish of Belton.

Nigel d Albini (Father of Roger de Mowbray) granted the site of Hirst Priory to the Augustinian Canons of St Oswald at Nostell Priory sometime prior to 1539. This was added to by his son Roger de Mowbray who doubled the food rents.

The canon in charge may have had 2 companions at first, to comply with the regulations; but from the 14th century there was probably only one canon with 1 – 2 servants, supervising the estate of Nostell.

The property consisted only of the grove and marsh of Hyrst, with certain tithes of corn, malt, and fish from the neighbourhood. In 1534 it still belonged to St. Oswald’s Priory, and was worth £7 11s. 8d. a year; in the Ministers’ Accounts the value is said to be £9 8s.

Stonehouse - Hirst Priory Plan

A plan of Hrst Priory, from documents in teh posession of Cornelius Stovin – as reported by Stoneouse.


Stoneouse, the Victorian historian of the Isle of Axholme reported;
“The moat is still perfect on the NE and W, and inclosed about half an acre of ground, an old barbary tree marks the place where the chapel stood; and at a short distance is the holy pond, which seems to have been a well dug to some small spring, which was descended by a few steps, of these there are some remains”(Stonehouse, 1839, 352-3).

In 1540 – At the dissolution of the monasteries Hirst Priory was granted to John Earl of Warren.

The estate was then sold to William Breton of London and it was sold on to Alexander Bannister of Epworth who in turn sold it to Sir Peter Ewer. He sold it to Thomas Brewer who gave it to to his daughter when she married John Taylor of Newland in Yorkshire, near Rawcliffe;

It passed through the male heirs of the family until the early 18th century when Richard Taylor sold the house to Jonathan Stovin of Tetley Hall.


The Stovin family lineage can be traced back to Stephen Stovin who came to England with William the Conqueror and was appointed chief bowstringer – a not insignificant appointment at a time when bow and arrows were important weapons. The crest on the family coat of arms includes a bow and arrow.

[Stovin coat of arms]

Throughout the remainder of the 18th and 19th century Hirst Priory passed through the Stovin Family;

Jonathan Stovin of Tetley (b. Abt 1705, d. 1759)
1759 – Cornelius Stovin, died 1814 (b. 1738, d 1814) – inherited the house on the death of his father
1814 – Cornelius Hartshorn Stovin, (b. 1798, d 1845) – inherited the house on the death of his father
1845 – Anna Maria Stovin (b. 1772, d 1847) – inherited the house on the death of her brother
1847 – James Lister (b. 1777, d. 1866) – inherited the house on the death of his cousin. His father George Stovin (not the antiquarian) had taken the name Lister under the terms of the will of Thomas Lister of Girsby.
1866 – George Spofforth Lister (b. 1811, d. 1903) – inherited the house on the death of his father although he appears to have been living there since his father inherited the house in 1847.

The listing describes the current house as being built early-mid C18 for Richard Taylor or Jonathan Stovin, with later C18 alterations for Cornelius Stovin; substantial alterations and additions of mid C19 for George Lister, including new west wing, remodelling north and south fronts, new balcony to south.

After 1869 George Lister appears to have let Hirst Priory to tennants – at first to Thomas Harsley Carnochan, a solicitor from Crowle, who appears to have rented it from 1869 until his death in 1886.
It would appear that James Stubley had started to rent Hirst Priory in 1888 as he was looking for staff to look after the house. He died in 1896 an the tennacy was taken over by his sun David Stubley

James Stubley looking for staff

On the death of George Lister in 1903 the whole Hirst Priory eastate was put up for Auction.

Hirst Priory Auction Preliminary Notice



David Stubley, described in newspaper reports of the auction as ‘the present tenant’, bought the entire Hirst Priory estate for £18,000


In the late 19h and early 20th centuries there were regular visits by Sunday Schools to Hirst Priory for their annual treat..


Crowle Adult School Brass Band In front of Hirst Priory


20th Century

Property Sale Hirst PPriory

David Stubley owned Hirst Priory using it as his country residence until his death in 1934 when the property passed to his Nephew Cyril Stubley until he died in 1950.

1903 – David Stubley – Purchased at Auction
1934 – Cyril Theodore Stubley – Inherited from his Uncle
1950 – Ethel Mary Stubley – Inherited from Husband

Richard Stubley – Farmer – Little Hirst Farm & Golf Club

In 1994 the grounds aroud Hirst Priory opened as ‘The Lincolnshire Golf Club’. The original stable block was converted into Restaurant, Changing Rooms and pro Shop.

In 2004 Hirst Priory was acquired by the present owners, The Hunt Group – who secured planning permission for a hotel.
In 2015 ,after an investment of more than £250,000 by the Hunt Group and the operator Genex, Hirst Priory opened as a Wedding Venue
In November 2017 Hazel and her team won the Wedding Venue of the Year (Countryside) for the Yorkshire and North-East region.