Besides founding Clare College at Cambridge, Elizabeth de Burgh rebuilt Clare Priory, surrounded the Austin Friars property with a high wall to assist flood mitigation, and contributed a large sum for the building of a new church there, which was blessed on 26th August 1338 by the Augustinian bishop, Benedict Icenus.
This church was fifty metres long, which made it exceptionally large for a rural area. Its chancel had six bays. A small central bell tower was built about the year 1363. Enough remains archaeologically to reveal much about this church and the adjacent buildings. The site was excavated by Sir William St John Hope in 1904, and more has been discovered in recent years.
The church featured a quire, nave, a small central tower, and a south chapel (possibly dedicated to St Vincent). It had a narrow north aisle, at the east end of which the Chapel of Annunciation, mentioned in 1361, may have been built. The south wall of the church still stands, and at its east end are the remains of a sedilia and an altar recess which may be the tomb of Joan of Acre (mentioned above).
The cloisters are south of the nave, with the east wall almost complete. In it is the entrance to the chapter house, above the east end of which was the dormitory, a two-storeyed building reached by stairs approached through a door in the north east of the cloisters, but only the foundations remain. The dormitory at the south-east was connected with the infirmary, behind which was the rere-dorter. South of the cloister was the refectory with a cellar below, but this part has been considerably altered.
A separate house for the Augustinian Prior (the leader of the community) was built in the fourteenh century and remodelled in the fifteenth century. It still stands in good condition. (See photo above, and links on the pages following.)
This dwelling was a development from the main rooms in the friary, the parlour, the pantry and buttery and the cellarer's hall, probably with the guest rooms and Prior's lodging above. The present hall has a magnificent ceiling dating from the late fifteenth century.
Near the kitchen is a small lobby with a vaulted floor; its windows still contain some of the original glass. Elsewhere there is a part of the fourteenth-century staircase leading to the upper rooms. Upstairs there is a finely panelled room wherein is carved the date, 1604, and the initials of Thomas Barnardiston, who died in 1618.
(Continued on the next page.)