Cluniac foundations in State Guardianship

Crossraguel Abbey
Crossraguel Abbey © David Gill

The Cluniac order was derived from the abbey at Cluny. The order was introduced to England at the priory of Lewes by William de Warenne, the first Earl of Surrey, and his wife Gundrada.

Wenlock_MPBW
1965

Wenlock Priory, Shropshire. [EH] The Cluniac foundation was made from St Mary of La Charité that had been refounded in 1059; Wenlock’s foundation by Roger Earl of Shrewsbury was likely to have been between 1080 and 1082. The priory was on the site of a late 7th century Anglo-Saxon nunnery.

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Castle Acre Priory © David Gill

Castle Acre Priory, Norfolk. [EH] The priory is likely to have been founded by William de Warenne, the second early of Surrey, probably after his father’s death in 1088.

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Thetford Priory © David Gill

Thetford Priory, Norfolk. [EH] The priory was founded in 1103/4 by Roger Bigod. The monks came from the priory at Lewes.

Monk Bretton Priory, Yorkshire. [EH] The priory was founded in 1154 from Pontefract.

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Crossraguel Abbey © David Gill

Crossraguel Abbey, Ayrshire. [HES] Crossraguel was founded as a result of an episcopal ruling in 1244. It was one of two Cluniac foundations in Scotland; the other was Paisley Abbey.

Thetford: guidebooks

Thetford_MPBW
1956 (repr. 1970)

The Cluniac priory at Thetford was placed in State Guardianship in 1932. F.J.E. Raby prepared the first official guide in 1935. This was expanded by P.K. Baillie Reynolds (1956). The pair also prepared the guidebooks for Castle Acre Priory and Framlingham Castle.

The Thetford guide consists of three pages of History, followed by six pages of description. A plan of the priory was placed in the middle pages.

Thetford_EH
1984 (repr. 1989; orig. 1979)

In 1979 the DOE guidebook was expanded to include a section on the Warren Lodge outside Thetford. S.E. Rigold prepared the new section on the lodge. In 1984 this booklet evolved into the English Heritage guide with black and white photographs and plans. David Sherlock had a section on the Church of the Canons of the Holy Sepulchre (with plan), and Rigold on the lodge.

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Thetford Warren Lodge © David Gill

Thetford Priory: Sacristry

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Thetford Priory © David Gill

The sacristry at Thetford Priory formed part of the original early 12th century building, started in 1107.

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Thetford Priory © David Gill

The sacristry was originally smaller with an apse at the east end. It was expanded to the east at the beginning of the 16th century. The Chapter House lay to the south of the sacristry.

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Thetford Priory © David Gill
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Thetford Priory © David Gill

The sacristry was entered from the south end of the south transept. It was also built with access to the cloister (to the west) but this entrance was blocked.

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Thetford Priory © David Gill
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Thetford Priory © David Gill

The later sacristry was entered from the north transept. It was constructed c. 1475–1540. A small oven was placed in the south-east corner.

The sacristry contained fragments of a mid-16th century tomb that appears to have been in preparation for installation in the church. (For other tombs, see here.)

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Thetford Priory © David Gill
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Thetford Priory © David Gill

Slype at Thetford

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Thetford Priory © David Gill

The slype, or corridor, in Thetford Priory is found at the south-east corner of the cloister, and to the south of the chapter house. It linked to the infirmary.

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Slype, Thetford Priory © David Gill

See also the slype at the Cluniac foundation of Crossraguel.

Thetford Priory: Howard Tombs

IMG_1789John Howard, the First Duke of Norfolk, was killed at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485 where he was commanding the part of Richard III’s army.

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Thetford Priory, likely tomb of John Howard © David Gill

His tomb appears to be located in a tomb constructed on the north side of the aisle of the church at Thetford Priory, and adjacent to the north transept. The body may have been moved to St Michael’s, Framlingham.

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Thetford Priory © David Gill

The tomb of Thomas Howard (1443-1524), Second Duke of Norfolk, was placed at the east end of the original church (that had been extended). He defeated the army of James IV of Scotland at Flodden in September 1513.

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Thetford Priory © David Gill

Howard died at Framlingham Castle in May 1524 and his body was buried at Thetford.

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Thetford Priory © David Gill

 

Crossraguel Abbey: private houses

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Crossraguel Abbey © David Gill

A series of five houses are located in the south court of Crossraguel Abbey. They probably date to the 15th century.

The 1589 quotation is from John Vaus, who was appointed commendator (in the period following the Reformation). ‘Pur men’ are ‘poor men’.

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Crossraguel Abbey © David Gill

Castle Acre Priory: chapter house

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Castle Acre Priory © David Gill

The chapter house at Castle Acre priory is located on the east side of the cloister, and backs onto the south transept of the priory church. It dates to the mid-12th century. The original form had an apse on the east side, now marked out adjacent to the infirmary passage. (The Ministry of Works marked the eastern apse of the chapter house at Thetford in the same way.)

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Castle Acre Priory © David Gill

The chapter house was remodelled in the early 14th century, and a wall blocked off the eastern apse. Traces of the seating for the monks can be seen on the north and south walls.

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Castle Acre Priory, chapter house © David Gill
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Castle Acre Priory © David Gill

Immediately to the south of the chapter house was the doorway that led to the dorter.

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Castle Acre Priory, chapter house © David Gill

Thetford Priory: Chapter House

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Thetford Priory, Chapter House © David Gill

The chapter house at Thetford Priory lies on the east side of the cloister and adjacent to the sacristy and south transept of the church.

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Thetford Priory, Chapter House © David Gill

The original 12th century chapter house had an apse on the east side, but this was remodelled in the 14th century and replaced with a straight wall.

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Thetford Priory, Chapter House © David Gill

Thetford Priory Gatehouse

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Thetford Priory Gatehouse © David Gill

The priory at Thetford, Norfolk was founded in 1103, and moved to the present location in 1107. The 14th century gatehouse lies to the north-west of the priory (in the grounds of private houses). The property is in the care of English Heritage.

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Thetford Priory © David Gill
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Thetford Priory © David Gill

 

Castle Acre: the prior’s lodging

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Prior’s lodging, and west end of priory church, Castle Acre Priory © David Gill

The prior’s lodging lies in the northern part of the west range, adjacent to the priory church. The room identified as the prior’s study (or solar) on the first floor is part of a mid-14th extension to the structure.

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Prior’s study, Castle Acre Priory © David Gill
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Prior’s solar, Castle Acre Priory © David Gill
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Prior’s chapel, Castle Acre Priory © David Gill
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Prior’s chapel, Castle Acre Priory © David Gill

The prior’s chapel lay on the eastern side of the structure in a part of the building dating to the mid-12th century. Remaining parts of the earliest structure include the arch at the eastern end of the room, over the place where the altar was located. The east window, looking out towards the cloister, dates to c. 1300.

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Outer Parlour, Castle Acre Priory © David Gill

On the ground floor, under the prior’s chapel was the outer parlour. This was accessed from outside via a north door, and to the cloister on the east side. The staircase led from here to the prior’s quarters.

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Undercroft, Castle Acre Priory © David Gill
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Undercroft, Castle Acre Priory © David Gill

The vaulted undercroft lies under the prior’s solar.