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

The Infirmary at Rievaulx Abbey

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Rievaulx Abbey © David Gill

The infirmary at Rievaulx lies on the south [east] side of the complex, adjacent to the infirmary cloister. It consisted of a hall running east-west [north-south], with an arcade on the south [east] side of the wall where the columns can still be seen. Cuttings suggest that there were internal wooden partitions.

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Infirmary, Rievaulx Abbey © David Gill

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Infirmary, Rievaulx Abbey © David Gill

In the late 15th century, when John Burton was abbot, the infirmary was converted into the abbot’s house.

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.

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.

Bury St Edmunds Abbey: Warnings

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Bury St Edmunds Abbey © David Gill

Bury St Edmunds Abbey was placed in State Guardianship in 1955. Signs indicating different parts of the abbey and the precinct were placed around the remains (e.g. crypt, crossing, lecture room). Visitors were discouraged from climbing the walls. Similar signs can be seen at Kirkham PrioryHadleigh Castle and Pickering Castle.

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Bury St Edmunds Abbey © David Gill

What appears to be a pre-Ministry sign threatened those who damaged the walls with prosecution. However workmen from the Ministry had assisted with the consolidation of the ruins in 1928 and these signs may date to this phase (and see also Brough Castle).

Bury St Edmunds: Norman Tower

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Bury St Edmunds Abbey, Norman Tower © David Gill

The Norman Tower was constructed in the period 1120 to 1148 under Abbot Anselm. It stands opposite the end of Churchgate Street, and in front of the west end of the abbey church. It served as a gateway to the abbey (completed in 1095) and the bell tower to the adjacent church of St James (now St Edmundsbury Cathedral).

Abbot Anselm was also responsible for the construction of the precinct wall, the church of St James, and the church of St Mary (at the south-west corner of the precinct).

The present ground level is well over the original street level. The tympanum over the western entrance was removed in 1789, and the battlements on the tower in 1842-46.

The Norman Tower, along with other parts of the abbey remains, is in the care of English Heritage.

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Bury St Edmunds Abbey, Norman Tower © David Gill

Byland Abbey: Rood Screen

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Byland Abbey © David Gill

The rood screen separated the lay brothers’ choir (at the west end of the abbey church) from the retrochoir. The nave altar stood at this point.

Note the square ends to the columns in the lay brothers’ choir.

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Byland Abbey, Lay Brothers’ Choir looking eastwards © David Gill