Step into Castle Acre

1952 [1970]
1952 [1970]
The original Office of Works guide to Castle Acre Priory in Norfolk was prepared in 1936.It had been placed under state guardianship in 1913. The guidebook was split into two distinct sections: the history by Frederick J.E. Raby, Fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge, and the description by Paul K. Baillie Reynolds, formerly Chief Inspector of Ancient Monuments. (The pair also collaborated on the guidebook to Framlingham Castle.) My Ministry of Public Buildings and Works (MPBW) ‘Official Guidebook’ is the eleventh impression (1970) of the second edition (1952). The cost was 2 shillings [10 p].  There is a fold-out plan inside the back cover. The cover shows the crest of the priory taken from the gatehouse (see the English Heritage guidebook, p. 22 [for position]).

1952 [1979]
1952 [1979]
My 1979 Department of the Environment (DOE) ‘Official Handbook’ (note the change from ‘Official Guidebook’) is the fourteenth impression (1979) of the second edition (1952). The price is now 50 p. Essentially the text and images are the same although there are minor changes. Raby is now listed as ‘Sometime’ Assistant Secretary in the Ministry of Works.

2008 [2013]
2008 [2013]
The English Heritage guidebook by Edward Impey covers Castle Acre Priory and Castle (2008; revised reprint 2013). This colour guide has a Priory Tour  (pp. 4-23), a Castle Tour (pp. 24-31), and a History (pp. 32-48). There are fold-out plans of the village and priory inside the front and back covers. There is a wonderful archive photograph of the first uniformed custodian, William Savage, who was appointed in 1929.

Author: David Gill

David Gill is Honorary Professor in the Centre for Heritage at the University of Kent, and Honorary Research Fellow in the School of History and an Academic Associate in SISJAC at UEA; Professor of Archaeological Heritage.

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