The original Ware Friary was founded by Thomas Wake, Lord of Liddell in 1338, although excavations during the extensive renovations in the mid-1990s indicate that there was a building on the site well before that. By the mid-17th Century the building was known as ‘Greyfriars’ although when it became known as Ware Priory is not exactly known.
Ware Priory itself is a Grade I listed building which has a distinctive choice of individual character rooms named after significant people, or groups of people in the history of the building. Painstakingly restored in the mid-1990s, some of the original building materials such as 14th Century wattle and daub, 17th Century stone work and some 19th Century Victorian murals have been uncovered and preserved as features of interest and show how the building has evolved over 700 years of history.
Seven acres of picturesque riverside gardens provide a beautiful and relaxed setting for any event whether it be traditional, historical or contemporary
The Priory Hall is situated in what were the cloisters of the original Friary. The open arches were filled in filled in during the mid-1800s with glass and mortar to form the room we see today. During the course of the restoration in the mid-1990s a small piece of medieval graffiti, in the form of a rose, was uncovered together with remnants of some mid-Victorian murals which have been preserved and restored. French windows open on to the riverside gardens.
The Garden Room, formerly the billiard room, leads off the Priory Hall. It can be used in conjunction with the hall or separately as it has its own outside entrance and cloakroom. There is also a separate kitchen area.
The Conservatory offers a bright and spacious interior with easy access to our riverside gardens. Although licensed for civil ceremonies, the Conservatory is ideal place for wedding breakfasts and receptions and can accommodate up to 120 guests. It also provides for a perfect, more intimate setting for christenings, naming ceremonies and Celebrations of Life gatherings. The Conservatory was completely rebuilt during the extensive renovations in the mid-1990s.
The Hadsley Room is part of the Lady Suite, and is situated on the first floor of the Priory in what was originally believed to be the Abbots Lodgings. It boasts a superb example of a crown post roof and has a vaulted ceiling. The large refectory table in this room dates back to the 14th Century and is believed to be from the original Friary. Robert Hadsley purchased the Priory in 1685, and his family owned the Estate for the best part of 200 years.
The Page Croft Room, adjacent to the Hadsley Room, is an ideal board-room style meeting room. The Freehold of the building, together with its grounds, were given to Ware Priory Trustees by Major Richard Page Croft in 1988.
The Greyfriars Room is in the opposite wing of the building to the other rooms available. This dual-aspect room is ideal for smaller conferences and meetings. It is named after the Franciscan order that used Ware Friary in the 14th Century. It was also the name attributed to the Estate itself during the 17th Century.