Wetheral Priory Gatehouse was probably built in the 15th century and formed the entrance to the priory’s outer courtyard. Wetheral Priory was a small Benedictine institution, founded by Ranulf le Meschin following the Norman invasion of Cumbria at the beginning of the 12th century. The motherhouse of the priory was St Mary’s Abbey in York. The priory was known for a special right of sanctuary for criminals that had been granted to it by Henry I, allowing the priory to shelter felons who could reach the church and ring the bell there.
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