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Ownership

The monks enjoyed the revenues from the estate for a long period but during the reign of Henry VIII all foreign religious orders were banished from England, including the Cluniac Order. The King was embroiled in yet another war with France and with the Isle of Wight having been invaded by the French in 1377 (the only place in England to suffer an invasion by the French during the 116 years of the 100 years war) the Island could not be trusted so close to Spithead and the fleet. These religious orders were almost self-governing, owing little allegiance to Henry VIII, and thus put in very little contribution to the State Treasury. Instead they exported their revenues direct to their home centre in France. With the war raging and the King turning away from Catholic Rome he sent the monks home; their lands and revenues lapsing to the Crown.

Shortly after the dissolution of the Priory the estate and its revenues were granted to Eton, with the College later granting the lands to the Bursar of Eton as a thanks offering on the occasion of his marriage to Elizabeth Woodville.

The estate remained in the ownership of Eton College until 1799 when Sir Nash Grose, the founder of the Grose-Smith family, purchased it. Sir Grose, a judge, built the main block of the mansion very much as it is today. This included the panelled  Bevin Room, the Drawing Room, the beautiful muralled Island Room and the main staircase leading to the bedrooms above.

The Groses and Grose-Smiths lived at the Priory from the mid 18th Century until roughly the 1890s. The Priory had three owners over the next thirty years, of which very little is known. By the late 1920s the house had passed to a gentleman who became the victim of a city financial crash and was only in residence for a short while. It then passed into the hands of Lady St George, a wealthy American heiress who had married Sir Charles St George, an Irish baronet.

Lady St George was known as a great entertainer, socialite and patron of the arts and it is thanks to her that we see some fine improvements to the house, its grounds, and other amenities. In addition to altering the layout of the grounds and adding the swimming pool, she also built the present entrance hall and reception area. The front porch is much older than the rest of this section of the hotel and is thought to be 14th Century. Lady St George acquired the porch in France and had it rebuilt at the Priory, stone by stone. The figure of St George and the Dragon was sculpted from different stone and added to it. Thus the Priory is a mixture of various architectural styles which somehow merge together remarkably well.

The GMBU (General Municipal Boilermakers Union) acquired the Priory in 1938 on the death of Lady St George. It opened for a short season in 1939, before being occupied by the army during the Second World War.  During this time the barn became a barrack room and, according to local sources, the security services also used the Priory as their HQ on the Island.

In 1981 Mr and Mrs Battle of Yorkshire bought the Priory and ran a family hotel business here until 1997. During this time they built the new chalet style cottages which can be seen from the main driveway.

The present owners are Andrew and James Palmer, who purchased the hotel in 1997. Closed for that winter whilst it underwent major refurbishment, the hotel re-opened at the end of June 1998.