St Olave’s Priory: undercroft

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St Olave’s Priory © David Gill

The refectory undercroft at St Olave’s Priory in Norfolk is in remarkable condition. The bricked in doorway led from the undercroft to the kitchen court.

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St Olave’s Priory © David Gill

South transept at Thornton Abbey

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South transept, Thornton Abbey © David Gill

The south transept is one of the best preserved parts of the church at Thornton Abbey, on the south side of the Humber. The Augustinian abbey was founded in 1139 from Kirkham Priory in Yorkshire. The church seems to have been rebuilt c. 1264.

The guidebook is by Sir Alfred Clapham and P.K. Baillie Reynolds. The remains are in the care of English Heritage.

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Thornton Abbey © David Gill

Celebrating 100 Years of Guides to the National Heritage Collection

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1917

2017 marks the centenary of the first guidebooks to what can now be termed the National Heritage Collection. One of the first was written by Sir Charles Peers on St Botolph’s Priory in Colchester and now in the care of English Heritage. The guidebook was reissued as a ‘blue’ guide in 1964.

The 1917 guide include a fold-out plan of the priory inside the back cover. This was prepared by E. Dace Brown in July 1916. The guide was divided into three sections: The Augustinian Rule; History of St Botolph’s Priory; and The Priory Buildings.

St Andrews Cathedral

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St Andrews © David Gill

The cathedral at St Andrews was started in 1160. It was here, in the east end and behind the high altar, that the relics of St Andrews were placed. There were reported to have been brought to St Andrews (Kilrymont) from Patras in Greece.

The view from St Rule’s Church shows the nave and west end of the cathedral. The cathedral was adjacent to an Augustinian priory. The western edge of the cloister can be seen in the picture.

Tours of Border Abbeys

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1963

I have noted before the souvenir guide for the Border Abbeys, published in 1964: Dryburgh, Kelso, Jedburgh and Melrose. A small card guide (with colour printing) to Melrose Abbey was issued by MPBW in 1963. On the reverse was a tour of the abbey, ending at the ‘attractive museum’. The cost was 4d (with the adult entry to the site at 1s). The suggested station was Melrose.

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1968

The MPBW card guide (monochrome on blue card) to Jedburgh Abbey is less elaborate with the tour inside with small sketches to illustrate the key features. The cost of this guide was 2d (with the adult entry to the site at 1s).

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A further leaflet was available for Kelso Abbey.

Guide to Scottish Border Abbeys

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1964 (1973)

In 1964 an illustrated guide to Scottish Border Abbeys was prepared by George Scott-Moncrieff. This covered four abbeys in state guardianship:

  • Melrose Abbey (1919): Cistercian
  • Dryburgh Abbey (1919): Premonstratensian
  • Kelso Abbey: Tironensian
  • Jedburgh Abbey (1913): Augustinian

The guide contains details of each abbey, plans and photographs, as well as reconstructions by Alan Sorrell.

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1932 (2nd ed. 1949, 6th impress. 1973)

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Second edition 1948 (9th impression 1973)

At least two of the sites had earlier official guidebooks: Melrose Abbey (1932) and Dryburgh Abbey (1937). Kelso Abbey had a paper guide.

See also the illustrated guide to Monastic Sites in Yorkshire.

St Olave’s Priory: Refectory

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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.

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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.

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St Olave’s Priory © David Gill

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St Olave’s Priory © David Gill