The Vavasours are an ancient Norman Catholic family who can trace their history in England back to the Norman conquest. From the time of Domesday to 1908 their family seat was Hazelwood Castle. Sir Henry Mervyn Vavasour (1767 – 1838) and Anna Vavasour (1771 – 1845) had a daughter called Anna Mervynia Vavasour. In 1837, Anna married Joseph Dunnington Jefferson and in the same year Joseph obtained permission from the Archbishop of York for he and his new bride to reside on his lands at Thicket. He set about building Thicket Priory which was completed around 1847. Thereafter, the Vavasours of Hazelewood Castle and the Dunnington Jefferson’s retained close links. The yellow crest of the Vavasour family can be seen in the chapel signifying the unity of the families. Interestingly, when the nuns purchased Thicket in 1955, they appointed Maud Vavasour as the first Prioress of Thicket Priory.