Zenobia and the trade in cheese


Zenobia figurehead © David Gill

One of the figureheads displayed at the Cutty Sark, Greenwich is from the Zenobia, wrecked off the Norfolk coast in 1882 (further details). The Zenobia was built to carry fruit, but was sold and then based in Great Yarmouth in Norfolk to carry cargoes of cheese to Holland.

The vessel was named after Zenobia of Palmyra (Syria).

Thetford Priory Gatehouse


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.


Thetford Priory © David Gill


Thetford Priory © David Gill


North Elmham Chapel


North Elmham Chapel © David Gill

In the late Anglo-Saxon period North Elmham was a focal point for the Bishops of East Anglia. The bishopric was moved to Thetford in 1071.

Bishop Herbert de Losinga [ODNB] founded a church, after 1091, on the site of the earlier Anglo-Saxon cathedral. At some point after 1388 Bishop Henry le Despencer turned the former chapel into a castle. Part of the walls within the inner moat can be seen to the right of the chapel’s apse.

The chapel is now in the care of English Heritage.

The MPBW published a short paper guide by S.E. Rigold (1960) using the site’s then title of ‘North Elmham Saxon Cathedral’.


1960 (repr. 1966)

Grime’s Graves: Canon Greenwell’s Pit to open


Canon Greenwell’s Pit, Grime’s Graves © David Gill

English Heritage has announced that it will opening up Canon Greenwell’s Pit at Grime’s Graves. A short video is available from the BBC (“Neolithic flint mine to open to public for the first time“, BBC News 11 March 2017). Access will be by guided tour. Pit 1 will continue to be open.

Canon William Greenwell (1820-1918) excavated at Grime’s Graves in 1868, following earlier work at the flint mines at Cissbury in Sussex.

Castle Rising: Guidebooks



Castle Rising was placed in state care in 1958. Prior to this it had been in the estate of the Hoard family. During this phase William Taylor wrote his History and Antiquities of Castle Rising, Norfolk (c. 1850).



Harry Lawrence Bradfer-Lawrence prepared Castle Rising: A Short History and Description of the Castle with Illustrations (1929). This continued in print until 1954.

R. Allen Brown produced the Department of the Environment guide in 1978. This was reprinted in 1984, and then issued by by English Heritage in 1987, with reprints as late as 1996. R. Allen Brown also wrote the guides to Dover Castle, Orford Castle, and Rochester Castle.


1987 (1992)

Castle Acre: the prior’s lodging


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.


Prior’s study, Castle Acre Priory © David Gill


Prior’s solar, Castle Acre Priory © David Gill


Prior’s chapel, Castle Acre Priory © David Gill


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.


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.


Undercroft, Castle Acre Priory © David Gill


Undercroft, Castle Acre Priory © David Gill

The vaulted undercroft lies under the prior’s solar.

Binham Priory: Gatehouse


Binham Priory © David Gill

The gatehouse of Binham Priory lies to the west of the priory church on the edge of the precinct boundary (see English Heritage plan).


Binham Priory © David Gill