Thetford: guidebooks


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.


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.


Thetford Warren Lodge © David Gill

Bayham Abbey: Guidebook


1974 (1985)

Bayham Abbey in Sussex was placed in State Guardianship in 1961 and excavated through the 1970s. S.E. Rigold prepared the first official guidebook for the DOE in 1974; it was republished as a English Heritage Handbook (note, not ‘guidebook’), and still in the familiar blue cover, by the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England. The format follows the familiar pattern of History followed by description. There is a site plan in text (p. 12). Black and white photographs appear through the text. A glossary is printed inside the back cover.

The abbey was of the Premonstratensian order and had been founded by 1211.

The guidebook was reprinted (with a colour cover) in 2004 as an English Heritage guide.

Titchfield Abbey: guidebook


1954 (repr. 1962)

The Premonstratensian abbey at Titchfield was founded from the foundation at Halesowen in Worcestershire after 1214. It was dissolved in 1537 and Thomas Wriothesley had the buildings adapted into a residence.

The ruins were acquired by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries c. 1914–18, and their responsibility fell to the H.M. Office of Works in 1923. The site is now in the care of English Heritage.

The guidebook was written by Rose Graham (History) and S.E. Rigold (description). It consists of 12 pages, and the centre pages include a plan of the abbey.  The original price was 4 d. (1962).

Heritage Futures Seminar: The Abbey of St Edmund


The Abbey of St Edmund Heritage Partnership is seeking to record and interpret the remains of the Benedictine abbey in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. Richard Summers will be talking about the work of the partnership on Wednesday 21 February 2018 at 4.30 pm in the Waterfront Building of the University of Suffolk. The event forms part of the Heritage Futures research seminar series.

Places can be reserved via Eventbrite. All are welcome and there is no charge.

Further details about the project can be found here.

For the abbey:

Thetford Priory: Sacristry


Thetford Priory © David Gill

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


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.


Thetford Priory © David Gill


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.


Thetford Priory © David Gill


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.)


Thetford Priory © David Gill


Thetford Priory © David Gill

St Olave’s Priory: undercroft


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.


St Olave’s Priory © David Gill