St Olave’s Priory: Refectory


St Olave’s Priory © David Gill

St Olave’s Priory is an Augustinian foundation dating to the early 13th century. It has been in state care since 1921 and is now part of English Heritage. The priory was originally in Suffolk (and still features in the Suffolk Pevsner) but since 1974 has been in Norfolk.


St Olave’s Priory © David Gill

One of the most impressive features left at the site is the 14th century refectory. The refectory continued as a private house until 1902.


St Olave’s Priory © David Gill


St Olave’s Priory © David Gill

Inchmahome Priory


Inchmahome Priory © David Gill

Inchmahome Priory stands on a small island in the Lake of Menteith and must be one of my favourite Historic Scotland sites. Mary Queen of Scots resided on the island for a short time in 1547. The priory was placed in state guardianship in 1926.

The priory was founded in 1238. The nave and choir contain Ministry signs explaining the different sections of the church. The choir is the resting place of the onetime Liberal MP R.B. Cunninghame Graham (1852-1936), who was a key supporter of Scottish independence.


Lady Row’s tomb at Crossraguel


Tomb cover of Lady Row at Crossraguel Abbey © David Gill

A replica of the tomb cover of Egidia Blair, Lady Row is found in the nave of the abbey church at Crossraguel. She was buried here in 1530, according to her will ‘in the Blessed Virgin’s aisle’.


Tomb of Lady Row now in the undercroft © David Gill

The original tomb cover is now on display in the east range undercroft.


Tomb of Lady Row © David Gill

Crossraguel Abbey was placed in state guardianship in 1913.

Guidebooks to Housesteads


1952 [5th impress. 1960]

The Roman fort at Housesteads stands at one of the most dramatic points of Hadrian’s Wall. The site was purchased by John Clayton (see also Chesters) and the fort was excavated by Robert Carr Bosanquet, a subsequent director of the British School at Athens. During the 1930s there was a major campaign to protect Hadrian’s Wall, and in 1930 the Housesteads estate was presented to The National Trust. The first guidebook to the site was written by Eric Birley (National Trust, 1936).


1952 [8th impress. 1970]

In 1951 Housesteads was placed in the guardianship of the Ministry of Works. Birley’s guide was revised and published as a Ministry of Works guidebook (2nd. ed. 1952). This includes sections on The Site; Historical Outline; The Fort; The Milecastle; The Settlement; and The Museum. There is a fold-out paper plan inside the back cover. This guidebook continued as a blue guide into the 1970s.



English Heritage produced by a guidebook by J.G. Crow (1989). The guide carries advertising for Gateway. This fully illustrated (but black and white) guidebook starts with a Tour of the Fort, and then moves outside: Milecastle 37; Civil settlement; Knag Burn gateway. There are then sections on Northern Britain under the Romans, and a History of Housesteads Fort, including images of Bosanquet’s excavation. It includes a reconstruction by Richard Sorrell after Alan Sorrell.



The current English Heritage guidebook is also by Crow (2012). It contains numerous colour photographs, plans, and historic photographs. It leads with a tour of the fort and then features outside; there is a section on ‘the fort in its landscape’. There are a number of special features including the garrison, and gambling and crime.

This is one of a series of forts on or near Hadrian’s Wall that have (mostly) English Heritage guidebooks: Wallsend, Corbridge, Chesters, and Birdoswald.

Oliver Cromwell in Mask

Greenpeace protest

Oliver Cromwell, Westminster © David Gill

I attended the All Party Committee on Cultural Property this afternoon and could not fail to notice a mask that had been added to the statue of Oliver Cromwell at Westminster. This was one of a series of statues that formed part of a Greenpeace protest on environmental issues relating to air pollution (“Eight arrests after Greenpeace protesters scale London monuments“, 18 April 2016).