Kirkham Priory is located on the banks of the River Derwent at Kirkham, near Malton, North Yorkshire.
The Augustinian priory was built in the 1120's by Walter l'Espec, Lord of Helmsley. In the 1130's he favoured the Cistercian order and tried to convert the priory. This caused upset and outrage and ultimately failed.
When Walter l"Espec died in 1155, the patronage was transferred to the de Roo's family. The priory flourished and greatly expanded. By the 13th century it was in debt but still supported the prior and sixteen canons.
The dissolution in 1539 put an end to the priory as it was surrendered to the crown. All the valuables were stripped and sold. The site was sold in 1540 and the buildings were stone mined to build the near-by hall at Howsham.
The priory was unused and abandoned until the Second World War. The river at the priory was chosen to test swimming vehicles in preparation for D-Day. Winston Churchill visited Kirkham.