HeritageGateway - Home
Site Map
Text size: A A A
You are here: Home > > > > Historic England research records Result
Historic England research recordsPrintable version | About Historic England research records

Historic England Research Records

Binham Priory

Hob Uid: 359008
Location :
Norfolk
North Norfolk
Binham
Grid Ref : TF9800139979
Summary : The now ruined Binham Priory was founded in 1091 by Peter de Valoines and established as a cell of the Benedictine abbey of St Albans. The original endowments included the manor of Binham, which had been granted to de Valoines by William the Conqueror, and tithes from a number of other manors in Norfolk. In 1539 the priory was dissolved by King Henry VIII and most of its property, including the manor, was granted to Sir Thomas Paston. Dismantling of the monastic buildings began soon after. His grandson, Edward Paston, carried out further demolition work intending to build a house on the site, however the project was abandoned after the death of a workman. Since the dissolution the nave of the church has remained in use as the parish church and is known as the Priory Church of St Mary and the Holy Cross. The priory precinct is now owned by the Norfolk Archaeological Trust and under the guardianship of English Heritage.The precinct is entered through a gatehouse, the ruins of which still stand on the west boundary. The partly ruined priory church and the ruined walls and wall footings of the conventual buildings, which are the core of the monastic complex, occupy the higher ground in the south western part of the precinct. Between these and the western boundary are the remains of a walled outer court containing masonry foundations of other substantial buildings. Adjoining the claustral complex on the east and south east side are earthworks defining further enclosures, and beyond these, bordering the stream which flows through the north and north eastern part of the precinct, are the remains of the mill pond with associated water management features.
More information : (TF98183990) Remains of (NAT) St Mary's Priory (NR)(Benedictine) (TF98173994) Holy Cross Church (NAT) (1)

A Benedictine Priory, dedicated to St Mary the Virgin, founded before 1093 and dissolved 1539. (2)

Originally an apsidal, cruciform church with adjacent priory buildings. All is now in ruins apart from the parochial part of the previously conventual/parochial church which is still in use (see plans). (3)

It is presumed that the monastic part of the church was dedicated to St Mary and the parochial part to St Cross, "St Cross or Holy Cross is more correct" for the extant part. (4)

These Grade I buildings are in care of, and been excavated by, the Ministry of Works. (5)

Listed. See the designated record on The National Heritage List for England. (6, 12)

The remains of this Priory are in excellent condition. See photographs and attached pamphlet. Resurveyed at 1:2500. (7)

The Priory of St Mary is situated on the north side of Binham village. A cell of the Benedictine abbey of St Albans, the priory was founded at the end of the 11th century by Peter de Valoines and his wife. According to the foundation charter, the priory was to pay the sum of one silver mark annually to the mother house, however it was financially independent. The original endowments included the manor of Binham, which had been granted to de Valoines by William the Conqueror, and tithes from a number of other manors in Norfolk. The priory was suppressed in 1539 and most of its property, including the manor of Binham, was granted to Sir Thomas Paston. Dismantling of the monastic buildings began soon after. In 1553 rubble and stone from the priory was purchased from Sir Thomas for use in construction of a house in Wells, and Edward Paston, a descendant of Sir Thomas, carried out further demolition work with the intention of building a house on the site, only to abandon the project after a workman was killed by falling masonry.

The priory precinct is entered through a gatehouse, the ruins of which still stand on the west boundary. The partly ruined priory church and the ruined walls and wall footings of the conventual buildings, which are the core of the monastic complex, occupy the higher ground in the south western part of the precinct, opposite and to the south east of the gatehouse. Between these and the western boundary of the precinct, to the south of the gatehouse, are the remains of a walled outer court containing masonry foundations of other substantial buildings. Adjoining the claustral complex on the east and south east side are earthworks defining further enclosures, and beyond these, bordering the stream which flows through the north and north eastern part of the precinct, are the remains of the mill pond with associated water management features.

Scheduled. For more detailed information see the designated record on The National Heritage List for England. (8, 13)

Binham Priory was established as a cell of St Albans Abbey in 1091, however construction of the monastic precinct wasn't completed until the 13th century. The number of monks living at the priory could never be less than eight and only descendants of the founder could assume the role of patron and protector. Many of the priors were said to have behaved irresponsibly and were accused of such activities as selling the priory's silver, losing money through lawsuits and even scandalous behaviour.

In 1539 the priory was dissolved and granted to Thomas Paston. His grandson, Edward Paston, demolished some of the priory buildings to use in the construction of a house on the site. The death of a workman stopped Paston from building a house on site as the workmen considered it a bad omen.

The roof of the church was repaired and rebuilt at a lower pitch in 1715 and it was re-installed at the original height in 1903. In 1809 the west window was bricked up and the floor was raised three feet, using rubble from the previously demolished north aisle. The floor was restored to its original level in 1929-35 and in 1987-90 further restoration was carried out using funds provided by English Heritage, the Historic Churches Preservation Trust and the Norfolk Churches Trust.

The priory precinct is owned by the Norfolk Archaeological Trust but is under the guardian ship of English Heritage.

Since the dissolution the church has continued in use as the parish church and known as the Priory Church of St Mary and the Holy Cross. (9)

See the English Heritage handbook for visitor information. (10)

According to Pevsner, the church is Norman in style and the monastic buildings were built between the 12th and 15th centuries. (11)



Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1959
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : Medieval religious houses in England and Wales
Source details :
Page(s) : 52, 59
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 11
Source : Norfolk, 1 : Norwich and north-east
Source details :
Page(s) : 389-393
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 12
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : English Heritage. 2011. The National Heritage List for England. [Accessed 27-JUL-2011]
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 13
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : English Heritage. 2011. The National Heritage List for England. [Accessed 27-JUL-2011]
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3
Source : Journal of the British Archaeological Association
Source details :
Page(s) : 44-7
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 40
Source Number : 4
Source : The Archaeological Journal
Source details :
Page(s) : 334-5
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 80
Source Number : 5
Source : Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Object Name Book reference
Source details : letter from Diocesan Registrar, 18 Nov 1905
Page(s) : 9
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 6
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : North Norfolk, 20-MAY-1983
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1122
Source Number : 7
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 13/07/1973
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 8
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : 01-Aug-96
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 9
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : The Priory Church of St Mary and the Holy Cross, Binham, [accessed 28-APR-2009]
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 10
Source : English Heritage Visitor Handbook 2009/10
Source details :
Page(s) : 135
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Partly destroyed by fire by 1454
Monument End Date : 1454
Monument Start Date :
Monument Type : Priory, Benedictine Monastery
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Founded 1091
Monument End Date : 1091
Monument Start Date : 1091
Monument Type : Benedictine Monastery, Priory
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Rebuilt 15th century
Monument End Date : 1500
Monument Start Date : 1401
Monument Type : Undercroft, Warming House
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Tudor
Display Date : Built 15th century
Monument End Date : 1500
Monument Start Date : 1485
Monument Type : Gatehouse
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Tudor
Display Date : Dissolved 1539
Monument End Date : 1539
Monument Start Date : 1539
Monument Type : Priory, Benedictine Monastery
Evidence : Ruined Building, Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Tudor
Display Date : Dissolved in 1539
Monument End Date : 1539
Monument Start Date : 1539
Monument Type : Benedictine Monastery, Priory
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : 20th Century
Display Date : Restored 1929-1935
Monument End Date : 1935
Monument Start Date : 1929
Monument Type : Church
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Early 20th Century
Display Date : Roof repaired 1903
Monument End Date : 1903
Monument Start Date : 1903
Monument Type : Church
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Late 20th Century
Display Date : Restored 1987-1990
Monument End Date : 1990
Monument Start Date : 1987
Monument Type : Church
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Built 12th-13th centuries
Monument End Date : 1299
Monument Start Date : 1100
Monument Type : Church
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Built mid 12th century
Monument End Date : 1166
Monument Start Date : 1133
Monument Type : Undercroft
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Built 12th-15th centuries
Monument End Date : 1499
Monument Start Date : 1200
Monument Type : Wall, Cloister, Fishpond, Dormitory, Garderobe, Chapter House, Warming House, Undercroft, Refectory, Kitchen, Mill Pond
Evidence : Ruined Building, Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Built 13th century
Monument End Date : 1299
Monument Start Date : 1200
Monument Type : Larder
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Rebuilt first half of 13th century
Monument End Date : 1232
Monument Start Date : 1200
Monument Type : Priests House
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Built second quarter of the 13th century
Monument End Date : 1250
Monument Start Date : 1226
Monument Type : Infirmary, Chapel, Cemetery
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Altered 14th century
Monument End Date : 1400
Monument Start Date : 1301
Monument Type : Church
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Built 15th century
Monument End Date : 1500
Monument Start Date : 1401
Monument Type : Gatehouse
Evidence : Ruined Building

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : NF 120
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Norfolk)
External Cross Reference Number : 2081
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 21414
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 223324
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Unified Designation System UID
External Cross Reference Number : 1014862
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : EH Property Number
External Cross Reference Number : 5
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : NBR Index Number
External Cross Reference Number : 106998
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Unified Designation System UID
External Cross Reference Number : 1049509
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : TF 93 NE 2
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 361899
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1088113
Relationship type :

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : BINHAM PRIORY
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1964-01-01
End Date : 1964-12-31
Associated Activities : BINHAM PRIORY
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1973-01-01
End Date : 1973-12-31
Associated Activities : FIELD OBSERVATION ON TF 93 NE 2
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1973-07-13
End Date : 1973-07-13
Associated Activities : INVESTIGATION BY RCHME/EH ARCHITECTURAL SURVEY
Activity type : ARCHITECTURAL SURVEY
Start Date : 1995-11-14
End Date : 1995-11-14
Associated Activities : BINHAM PRIORY
Activity type : ARCHITECTURAL SURVEY
Start Date : 1997-01-01
End Date : 1997-12-31
Associated Activities : LAND AT BINHAM PRIORY
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 2005-01-01
End Date : 2005-12-31
Associated Activities : BINHAM PRIORY PRECINCT WALL
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 2007-01-01
End Date : 2007-12-31
Associated Activities : BINHAM PRIORY
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 2007-01-01
End Date : 2008-12-31
Associated Activities : BINHAM PRIORY
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2008-01-01
End Date : 2008-12-31
Associated Activities : ST. MARY'S PRIORY CHURCH
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 2016-01-01
End Date : 2016-12-31