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Historic England Research Records

St Mary And Holy Trinity Priory And Cathedral

Hob Uid: 383065
Location :
Norfolk
Breckland
Thetford
Grid Ref : TL8678083080
Summary : St Mary the Great's Church was a Saxon minster. It is recorded in Domesday that the churches of St Martin, St Peter, St John and St Margaret, all in Thetford, were dependent on it. From 1072-1094, it was the Cathedral of East Anglia. It was converted for use as an Alien Cluniac Priory until 1114. The site was reused as a Dominican Friary in 1335 until dissolved in 1538. The Church of the Holy Trinity, founded in 1072, stood to the South of St Mary's. Important remains of this, the Dominican Church, are incorporated in school buildings. Part of West front and much of North aisle and South arch of the central tower remain. Largely 15th century but tower arch 14th century. Excavations in 1964 revealed the extent of the cloisters and the West range, the site being North of the church of St Mary the Great.
More information : [TL 86788308] Site of [T.I.] St.Mary & Holy Trinity
Priory [G.T.] : [TL 86778307] Site of [T.I.] Church [G.T.] :
[TL 86758306] St.Mary & Holy Trinity Cathedral [G.T.] (Rems. of)
[T.I.] (1)

The parish church of St.Mary the Great, originally a Saxon church, afterwards became the cathedral of the see. Holy Trinity Church stood to the S. of the cathedral.

A Cluniac Priory was founded here in 1103-4 and dedicated to Holy Trinity, St. Mary and All Saints, but in 1114 the monks moved across the river to a new monastery [at TL 88 SE 54] A Dominican Friary was founded on the old site in 1335, dissolved 1538.

Today, the remains comprise the W.wall of an aisled church with tall wall arches and the N. wall of the N. aisle, again with wall arches, and a narrow tall arch out of the towered central space to the S. of 14th.C. construction. (2-4)

The remains are as described, the walling of flint and chalk, with stone dressings standing to a maximum height of 7.0m. The O.S. sitings for the Priory and a church (? Holy Trinity) fall within school playing fields. Published 1/2500 survey revised.

See AO/SER/67/5/7 (5)

Trenches for drains at the Grammar School revealed footings of Blackfriars Monastery, inhumation burials and domestic refuse including animal bones and medieval pottery. Excavations in 1964 revealed the extent of the cloisters and the W range, the site being N of the church of St Mary the Great. (6-7)

(TL 86788308) Remains of (NAT) Friary (NR) (Dominican) (NAT) (8)

1.
1720 TL 88 SE 62 BRIDGE STREET (North West Side)

Remains of Dominican Church at
Thetford Grammar School
TL 8683 1/8 3.4.51.
I
2.
Important remains of Dominican Church incorporated in school buildings. Part of West front and much of North aisle and South arch of the central tower. Flint, chunch and ashlar. Largely C15 but tower arch C14.

Additional bibliography. (9-11)

The site was investigated in 1998 by the Time Team (Channel 4 television programme). Excavations, buildings survey and geophysical survey were undertaken wwithin Thetford Grammar School and its grounds, primarily revealing further details of the layout of the Dominican Friary. Perambulation of the school grounds revealed no earthwork evidence. (12)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 25"
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
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Source Number : 2
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Ruined Churches of Norfolk, 1931, 36-37 (Messant)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
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Source Number : 11
Source : North-west and south Norfolk
Source details :
Page(s) : 345
Figs. :
Plates :
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Source Number : 12
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : Stewart Ainsworth/23-MAR-1998/RCHME: Time Team
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 3
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Monastic Remains of Norfolk and Suffolk, 1934, 80 (Messant)
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Source Number : 4
Source : Medieval religious houses : England and Wales
Source details :
Page(s) : 100,187
Figs. :
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 5
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 ASP 10-NOV-67
Page(s) :
Figs. :
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Source Number : 6
Source : Medieval archaeology : journal of the Society for Medieval Archaeology
Source details :
Page(s) : 140
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 4, 1960
Source Number : 7
Source : Medieval archaeology : journal of the Society for Medieval Archaeology
Source details :
Page(s) : 181
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 9, 1965
Source Number : 8
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 1:10000 1972
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 9
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : DOE(HHR) Thetford Norf 1971 7
Page(s) :
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 10
Source : Medieval religious houses in England and Wales
Source details :
Page(s) : 214,219
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Early Medieval
Display Date : Extant
Monument End Date : 1074
Monument Start Date : 1042
Monument Type : Church, Minster
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Extant
Monument End Date : 1094
Monument Start Date : 1072
Monument Type : Cathedral
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Extant
Monument End Date : 1114
Monument Start Date : 1094
Monument Type : Cluniac Cell
Evidence : Ruined Building, Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : C14 and 15
Monument End Date : 1500
Monument Start Date : 1301
Monument Type : Church, Friary
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Extant
Monument End Date : 1538
Monument Start Date : 1335
Monument Type : Dominican Friary
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 64
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Norfolk)
External Cross Reference Number : 5750
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 384684
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Unified Designation System UID
External Cross Reference Number : 1207496
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : TL 88 SE 62
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, GRAMMAR SCHOOL
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1959-01-01
End Date : 1959-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, GRAMMAR SCHOOL
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1964-01-01
End Date : 1964-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON TL 88 SE 55
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1967-11-10
End Date : 1967-11-10
Associated Activities : Primary, THETFORD BLACKFRIARS (TIME TEAM)
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 1998-01-01
End Date : 1998-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, LAND AT THETFORD GRAMMAR SCHOOL
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2004-01-01
End Date : 2004-12-31