Whithorn: guidebooks

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1953 (5th impress. 1968)

C.A. Ralegh Radford and Gordon Donaldson prepared an official guidebook for Whithorn and Kirkmadrine in 1953. This covers the monastery and later priory at Whithorn; St Ninian’s Chapel at the Isle of Whithorn; St Ninian’s Cave at Glasserton; the museum at Whithorn that contains material from surrounding locations; and the Kirkmadrine stones displayed in the old church. There is a fold-out plan of the priory at Whithorn. The guide contains an extensive history of the region (pp. 3–27).

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The present History Scotland guide is by Adrian Cox with Sally Gall and Peter Yeoman. The focus is on Whithorn but there are sections on St Ninian’s Chapel and Cave, as well as a double page spread on Kirkmadrine.

Beauly Priory

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1954 (1966)

Beauly Priory in Inverness-shire was a Valliscaulian foundation of 1230, by Sir John Bisset. The paper guide was prepared by William Douglas Simpson (1896-1968) in 1954; a second edition was published in 1978. The guide contains a short history followed by a description. A plan of the church is printed on the central pages.

Simpson served as university librarian for the University of Aberdeen (1926–66). He excavated at several castles in Scotland and write several Ministry guides (including Urquhart Castle).

Hidden defences at St Helen’s Duver

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St Helen’s Duver © David Gill

The 13th century tower of old St Helen’s church stands above the beach at St Helen’s Duver on the Isle of Wight [National Trust]. It formed part of the Benedictine Priory, that was abandoned in the early 15th century. In the 18th century the tower was bricked up and served as a landmark.

Adjacent to the tower is a World War II pillbox intended to defend the entrance to Bembridge harbour [HER] [Citizan]. This was carefully disguised to look like part of the ruins.

 

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

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

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.

Finchale Priory: Frater

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Finchale Priory © David Gill

The frater or refectory at Finchale Priory lies on the south side of the cloister. It dates to the early 14th century.

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Finchale Priory © David Gill

Access was via an arched doorway in the south-west corner of the cloister, with steps up to the frater.

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Finchale Priory © David Gill

Below the frater is a vaulted cellar.

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Finchale Priory © David Gill