Record Details

NHER Number:10715
Type of record:Building
Name:Ruins of St Olave's Priory, Fritton and St Olaves

Summary

The remains of a small Augustinian Priory, now in ruins. It was founded in about 1216, and named after the patron saint of Norway. The priory was dissolved in the 1530s, and the site purchased by the Jerningham family, who pulled down most of the church and built a three storey mansion (demolished in 1784) incorporating some monastic remains. There was extensive robbing of the site in 1823 to repair Herringfleet Church. Parts of the church, cloister and refectory survive, particularly the refectory undercroft, which is in near perfect condition. A series of cropmarks, consisting of former fishponds, boundaries and drains, are visible on aerial photographs to the north of the Priory ruins.

Images

  • The brewhouse of St Olaves Priory. The rest of this small Augustinian Priory is now in ruins.  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service

Location

Grid Reference:TM 45 99
Map Sheet:TM49NE
Parish:FRITTON AND ST OLAVES, GREAT YARMOUTH, NORFOLK

Full description

Remains of Augustinian Priory, and Dissolution mansion. Until 1967 in Herringfleet parish, Suffolk.

1840. Burials uncovered.

Before 1902. Roman finds reported.

Excavations 1902, 1947, 1979 and 1984.
1980. Medieval pot found.
1984 to 5. Metal detecting. Late Saxon, medieval and post medieval coins and metalwork.
1986. Medieval metalwork found.

See full report (S1), plans (S2), schedule (S3), press cutting (S4) and photographs (S5) in file.
E. Rose (NLA), 1 February 1991.

1998. Earthwork Survey

Priory remains listed Grade I; house called The Priory; Garden Walls; Priory Farmhouse and Barn all listed Grade II.

The extent of this site has been extended to include some cropmarks to the north and therefore the centre of the site has altered from [1] to [2].

May 2006. Norfolk NMP.
A series of cropmarks, consisting of former fishponds, boundaries and drains, are visible on aerial photographs to the north of the Priory ruins (S6-S7). The site is centred on [3].
A number of oblong positive cropmark features are visible which suggest large cut features, such as at [4]. These have been interpreted as the remains of former fishponds. The clearest of these is located near to the main Priory buildings and measures approx 30m by 5.5m. A similar, but smaller, pond-like feature is visible to the immediate west, possibly cut by the modern track. To the west is a larger L-shaped chain of ponds, which may be linked to a drainage channel to the north. Another pond-like feature appears to be conjoined to a ditch or drainage channel to the east of the site. This channel possibly continues around to the east following the line of the track to the north. In 1988 (S6) this runs into a broad, angular area of ripened and possibly flattened crop, which continues around the edge of the field following the line of the drain to the east. On initial examination of the aerial photographs it was thought that this cropmark was caused by recent agricultural practices. However it was noted that the same overly ripened crop had formed above the clearest of the pond-like features visible on oblique aerial photographs from the following year (S7). This suggested that the feature was, in some places at least, forming over sub-surface features and therefore extent of this anomaly has been marked on the NMP map. It is possible therefore that this broad band of ripened crop reveals a former Priory precinct boundary running around the northeastern edge of the site, the line of which is followed by the drainage channel to the east. Two parallel ditches are also visible following the line of the modern boundaries within the Priory. To the south of this two parallel ditches, 6m apart, are visible running towards the Priory structures from the east. It is possible that this represents a former trackway running to the main buildings.

Centred on [5] is a series of parallel ditch-like features, running diagonally across the field. It seems likely that these are associated with a modern drainage scheme, although they have been mapped as they may relate to some activity associated with the Priory or even some earlier phase of occupation. Roman and Saxon finds have been recovered from this site, so it possible that these parallel ditches could be fragments of Roman field boundaries or similar features. Although without further evidence linking them to this period, these must be treated as being of unknown date.
S. Massey (NMP), 31 May 2006.

October 2011. Watching Brief.
Monitoring of groundworks for replacement information panel. Encountered possible wall foundations likely to be associated with a pillar located close by on the surface in the southern part of the cloister.
See report (S8) for further details.
E. Ford (HES), 12 October 2012.

Monument Types

  • DITCH (Unknown date)
  • DITCH (Roman to Late Saxon - 43 AD to 1065 AD?)
  • FIELD BOUNDARY? (Roman to Late Saxon - 43 AD to 1065 AD?)
  • BARN (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BOUNDARY DITCH (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BUILDING (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • DITCH (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • DRAINAGE DITCH (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FISHPOND (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FLOOR (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • INHUMATION (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • MONASTIC PRECINCT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PRIORY (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PRIORY (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • SITE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • TRACKWAY? (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WALL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • GREAT HOUSE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds

  • MILLSTONE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • POT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • DRESS COMPONENT (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • FURNITURE FITTING (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • ARCHITECTURAL FRAGMENT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BOOK FITTING (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BOX (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BUCKLE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BUCKLE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • COFFIN (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • COIN (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • DRESS COMPONENT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FINGER RING (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FURNITURE FITTING (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FURNITURE FITTING (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FURNITURE FITTING (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • KEY (LOCKING) (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PERSONAL ORNAMENT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PURSE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ROOF TILE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • STAMP (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • COIN (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

  • Scheduled Monument
  • Listed Building
  • Listed Building
  • Listed Building
  • SHINE

Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: TM4599 A-G,V-X.
---Designation: English Heritage. National Heritage List for England. List Entries 1051010, 1172374 and 1372917.
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Recording Form: Heywood, S. 1997. Norfolk County Council Site Record - Ruins of St Olave's Priory, Fritton.
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Medieval. Fritton and St Olaves.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Monograph: Pevsner, N. and Radcliffe, E. 1974. Suffolk. The Buildings of England. 2nd Edition. p 267.
---Collection: Norfolk Historic Environment Record Staff. 1975-[2000]. HER Record Notes. Norfolk Historic Environment Service.
<S1>Unpublished Document: Rose, E.. 1979. Building Report.. Building Report.
<S2>Illustration: Various. Various. Architectural plans.
<S3>Designation: English Heritage. 1990-2013. English Heritage Scheduling Notification. Notification. DNF465.
<S4>Newspaper Article: Anglia Advertiser. 1986. [Article on the Priory Farm]. 6 November.
<S5>Photograph: CPL1-12, CST31-36, EAQ19-23.
<S6>Vertical Aerial Photograph: BKS. 1988. BKS 9007-8 06-AUG-1988 (NCC 2187-8).
<S7>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1989. NHER TM4599V-X (NLA 233/DPJ7-9) 04-JUL-1989.
<S8>Unpublished Contractor Report: Sillwood, R. 2012. Archaeological Watching Brief at St Olave's Priory, Fritton and St Olaves, Norfolk. NPS Archaeology. 2892a.

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