Record Details

NHER Number:2081
Type of record:Monument
Name:Binham Priory

Summary

Binham Priory was founded in the early 12th century, and is an important example of the almost complete survival of a monastic precinct. The cloisters and gatehouse are in ruins, but the church, which is still in use as a parish church, is upstanding. The buildings date mostly from the 13th or 14th centuries. Earthworks of other buildings survive within the precinct, including possible guest accommodation and agricultural buildings. A complex water management system has also survived, including the remains of fishponds. An evaluation to determine the location of the lost west precinct wall by APS in August 2007 located the line of the inner face of the medieval wall along with evidence for structures located against the wall. Medieval and post medieval pottery, ceramic building material and animal bone fragments were also recovered. In 2009 an evaluation revealed two graves pre-dating the 12th century north aisle, which may have belonged to an earlier church possibly of Saxon date.

Images

  • The west front of Binham Priory.  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service
  • The ruins of Binham Priory  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service
  • Medieval book fitting from NHER 2081  © Norfolk County Council
  • Medieval plaque from NHER 2081  © Norfolk County Council

Location

Grid Reference:TF 9820 3998
Map Sheet:TF93NE
Parish:BINHAM, NORTH NORFOLK, NORFOLK

Full description

Benedictine priory, founded at the end of the 11th century and dissolved in 1539.
Gatehouse dating to 15th century.
Priory church, partly ruined, 12th and 13th century date.
Ruined cloister and conventual buildings, including dormitories, garderobes, chapter house, refectory, with dates between the 13th and 15th centuries.
Outer court with earthworks of buildings, possibly guest accommodation, and agricultural buildings.
Remains of fishponds.
One of the few monasteries in Norfolk where the precinct has survived almost intact.
See (S1).

Scheduled area greatly extended 1996 to include earthworks of water mill and fish pond. Standing post medieval barn.
1851. Seal found.
1860. Ring and thimble found.
1935. Well excavated.
1936. Priory excavated. See drawings (S16)-(S20) in the Illustration Library for finds from this excavation.

1964. Excavation.
Carried out in the external angle of the west and south ranges, this revealed a thick flint and mortar raft, however there was no evidence of a building that occupied this angle. Overlaying this was an early 16th century midden which contained large quantities of animal bone and oyster shell. The only pottery that was found in association was German stoneware.
Information taken from (S2).

1987. Found with metal detecting, medieval metalwork.

Ministry of Works plans of buildings are large rolled plans.

1996. Earthwork Survey.
See full details, schedule sheet and illustrations in file.
This survey was amongst those included in (S21) and is also noted in (S22).

E. Rose (NLA) 21 August 1996.

2004. Guide book published (S10).
D. Gurney (NLA), 8 April 2009.

February 2005.
Scheduled monument consent granted concerning repairs to the gatehouse and precinct wall.
See (S3) for further information
H. White (NLA), 24 March 2009

August 2005. Excavation.
APS excavation within the footprint of the north aisle. Contexts 100-143.
Medieval deposits comprised the flint and limestone wall of the north aisle of early to mid 12th century date set within its foundation trenches. Three sub-phases of the aisle wall were recorded, based on differing foundation designs exposed during excavations. Later buttresses were also cleaned and examined and include limestone plinths and rendered flintwork. Though not securely dated, one buttress incorporates reused 12th and perhaps 13th century stonework. This reused material may derive from the 14th-15th century rebuilding of the east end of the church and the chapter house. No foundation trenches were visible beneath buttresses. Possibly also of medieval date is the insertion of an opening in the 9th bay of the aisle.
Mixed graveyard soils, burials and a wall remain undated. Burials, where encountered, had no indication of associated grave cuts and the structure of graveyard soils was mixed due to repeated interment. Also undated is the infilling of the inserted opening within the 9th bay of the aisle.
Final report awaited. See assessment report (S4) for further details. The results of this work are also summarised in (S15).
The associated archive has been deposited with the Norwich Castle Museum (NWHCM : 2016.298, NWHCM : 2016.299 and NWHCM : 2016.300).
A. Cattermole (NLA), 14 April 2007. Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 3 February 2017 and 22 June 2019.

4 January 2006. Stray Find.
On surface of spoil heap from 2005 excavations, spread in area centre TF 9815 3999.
One body sherd Thetford-type (weighing 8g) and one body sherd medieval unglazed (8g).
Fairly numerous small fragments of medieval ceramic roof tile were noted but not collected.
A. Rogerson (NLA), 4 January 2006.

This is one of the sixty five churches selected for (S5).
D. Gurney (NLA), 17 February 2006.

July-August 2007. Excavation.
Excavation of single trench in order to expose the remains of the collapsed portion of the precinct wall. Contexts 200-220.
The medieval buttress wall was encountered, aligned east-west and constructed in flint with some limestone dressing. As no visible wall scar of the precinct wall was visible on the buttress, the precinct wall probably abutted against it. The medieval precinct wall was identified as a narrow trench-built flint structure, containing a single fragment of flat roof tile, which accommodated the east face of the wall. The western face was not identified, and the rubble core was also not present. Towards the northern edge of the trench were a number of levelling deposits which supported a surface of crushed chalk or fine mortar. The southern limit of this surface was marked by a cut, a possible foundation trench of an east-west wall. Further south was a flint wall, abutting the precinct wall, which was probably medieval in date. Post- medieval demolition deposits produced finds that comprised medieval pottery , 16th-17th century pot, tile and animal bone.
See interim report (S6) and assessment report (S12) for further details. The results of this work are also summarised in (S13). A final publication covering all phases of work undertaken between 2007 and 2008 is awaited.
The associated archive has been deposited with the Norwich Castle Museum (NWHCM : 2016.298, NWHCM : 2016.299 and NWHCM : 2016.300).
H. White (NLA) 8 December 2008. Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 22 June 2019.

2007. Observations of precinct wall.
Note added to file.
E. Rose (NLA), 16 November 2007.

May 2008. Watching Brief. Contexts 242-251.
Monitoring of minor groundworks associated with erection of interpretation panels.
14th-15th century pottery, roof tile and demolition matter were recovered from the pits for the first interpretation panel located on the approach to the priory. Demolition rubble and medieval roof tile was also recovered from the second panel pit, located by the entrance to the priory. The north wall of the cloister alley was located in the third pit in the cloisters, and in pit four in the presbytery the foundation wall beneath the pillar was encountered. Medieval floor tile was also recovered from this pit.
See report (S7) and assessment report (S12) for further details. The results of this work are also summarised in (S23). A final publication covering all phases of work undertaken between 2007 and 2008 is awaited.
The associated archive has been deposited with the Norwich Castle Museum (NWHCM : 2016.299).
Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 4 February 2017.

For details about the Binham Priory Access and Conservation Project by the Binham Priory Trust and the Norfolk Archaeological Trust, see (S9).
D. Gurney (NLA) 20 March 2009.

2008. Excavation. Contexts 221-241 and 252-965.
Excavation of trenches ahead of development to provide a visitors centre and improved access to the site revealed medieval remains including walls from the north aisle and precinct wall. Pre-dating the construction of the 12th century north aisle were two graves, which may have belonged to a church possibly of Saxon date recorded in the foundation charter. The pottery assemblage comprises medieval and post-medieval sherds with residual finds of Roman pottery. Worked stone from the priory were also recovered and included a number of mouldings and three grave slabs with two made from Purbeck marble. Worked flint could suggest prehistoric activity within the vicinity.
See assessment report (S12) for further details. A final publication covering all phases of work undertaken between 2007 and 2008 is awaited.
The associated archive has been deposited with the Norwich Castle Museum (NWHCM : 2016.298, NWHCM : 2016.299 and NWHCM : 2016.300).
S. Howard (NLA), 18 November 2009. Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 22 June 2019.

May 2009.
Conservation work to the gatehouse and buttress completed, as well as improved disabled access, a service building to display artefacts and the installation of information panels.
See (S10) and (S11)
H. White (NLA), 19 May 2009.

2010.
A report is being prepared on stone fragments from the English Heritage Norfolk store, possibly from a tomb canopy (S14).
D. Gurney (NLA), 2 February 2010.

September 2016. Excavation.
Excavation of soils within modern planter located on the north side of St Mary’s Church. The reduction of this small area down to natural geological deposits exposed up to eight individual burials, all of which were of probable medieval date. These included one adult female, one infant and what appeared to be several poorly preserved neonatal burials. A number of the burials had been disturbed by the concrete footings of the planter and two had been partially excavated during the earlier archaeological work. There was no evidence for coffins or caskets. The grouping of infant burial close to church wall is a pattern that has now been observed during the excavation of a number of cemeteries in the region.
There was evidence that this part of the church wall had been subject to 19th-century remedial work, with post-medieval ceramic building material observed in the fabric of the lowest section exposed. This work most likely took place during the demolition of the north aisle.
The small number of finds recovered during this work include a single Roman pottery sherd, several medieval pottery sherds, two medieval roof tiles, a single fragment of worked stone and a small assemblage of fragmentary animal bone.
See report (S24) for further details.
P. Watkins (HES), 6 February 2018.

September-November 2016. Building Survey.
Repair and conservation works on west front elevation of St Mary’s Church. This work was focused on the replacement of eroded bricks that constitute the infill of the architecturally significant west front window (which is believed to be the earliest example of bar tracery extant in Britain). During the course of this work it was discovered that much of the original tracery may survive behind the 19th-century brick blocking, which was probably originally intended as only a temporary measure.
See report (S25) for photographs and further details.
P. Watkins (HES), 6 February 2018.

Monument Types

  • FINDSPOT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Early Saxon to Middle Saxon - 410 AD to 850 AD)
  • GRAVE (Saxon - 410 AD to 1065 AD?)
  • FINDSPOT (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • BUILDING (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CHURCH (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CULVERT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • EXTENDED INHUMATION (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Medieval to 19th Century - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • FISHPOND (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • GATEHOUSE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • GRAVE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • MIDDEN (Medieval to 19th Century - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • PRIORY (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • SITE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • TILE KILN (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WALL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WATERMILL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WELL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BARN (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • CORN DRYING KILN (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • MALTINGS (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds

  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Undated)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Unknown date)
  • BURNT FLINT (Undated)
  • CLAY PIPE (SMOKING) (Unknown date)
  • POT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • POT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • POT (Early Saxon to Middle Saxon - 411 AD to 850 AD)
  • POT (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Medieval to 19th Century - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • ARCHITECTURAL FRAGMENT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BELL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BOOK FITTING (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BRICK (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BUCKLE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BULL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • COFFIN (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FLOOR TILE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • OYSTER SHELL (Medieval to 19th Century - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Medieval to 19th Century - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • RING (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ROOF TILE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ROOF TILE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • SEAL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • STRAP FITTING (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • THIMBLE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • DRESSED STONE (Medieval to 12th Century - 1100 AD to 1199 AD?)
  • BRICK (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • BUILDING MATERIAL (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • COFFIN FITTING (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • FLOOR TILE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • FLOOR TILE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • NAIL (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

  • Listed Building
  • Listed Building
  • Scheduled Monument

Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: TF9839 A-D,H-Q,U-AB,AE-AU (Unit); R-T, (AAF).
---Article in Serial: Hudson, W. 1910. The Norwich Taxation of 1254. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XVII pp 46-158. p 84.
---Article in Serial: Fairweather, F. H. 1931. Excavations in Norfolk; Summer 1930. Antiquaries Journal. XI No 2 pp 168-169. p 168ff.
---Article in Serial: 1933. Proceedings of the Congress. Journal of the British Archaeological Association. Second Series Vol XL. pp 44-47.
---Designation: [unknown]. Ancient Monuments Form. SAM Record. DNF183.
---Aerial Photograph: TF 9839/ AW, AV.
---Designation: English Heritage. National Heritage List for England. List Entries 1049509 and 1170780.
---Monograph: Bryant, T. H. 1898. Hundred of North Greenhoe. The Churches of Norfolk. Vol II. pp 1-6.
---Newspaper Article: The Times. 1936. Binham Priory excavations - Progress of the work. 1 September.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1934. Excavations at Binham - Discovery of the high alter. 14 July.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1936. Binham Priory - Mr H. R. Nevill's Lecture at Norwich. 3 February.
---Unpublished Document: Cushion, B.. 1996. Binham Priory Earthwork Survey.
---Map: 1733. Map of Binham, copied from 1655 map.
---Map: 1815. Binham Enclosure Award.
---Map: 1792. Map of Binham.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1980. [Photograph of Binham Priory in 1928]. 8 December.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1985. Conservation film looks at Binham.. 3 January.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1985. Big target for repairs to small church. 23 April.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1998. Care needed over hall plan. 7 January.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1986. [Article on Priory Church]. 14 March.
---Record Card: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards. TF 93 NE 2.
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Monograph: Pevsner, N. and Wilson, B. 1997. Norfolk 1: Norwich and North-East. The Buildings of England. 2nd Edition. pp 389-392 ; Pl 5, Pl 13.
---Serial: Howard, F.E.. 1923. Archaeological Journal. 80, 334-5.
---Unpublished Document: NNDC. 2005. Norwich Diocesan Advisory Committee Report on a Visit.. 26 August.
---Unpublished Document: NNDC. 2005. Norwich Diocesan Advisory Committee Report on a Visit.. 27 September.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2009. [Articles on the completion of the £1million restoration work at Binham Priory].
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2010. The second Norman invasion. 28 July.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2008. Gatehouse opens door to the past. 1 February.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2009. Better late than never as church gets funding. 22 January.
---Leaflet: Binham Priory: A guide to the Priory Church of St Mary and the Holy Cross, Binham, Norfolk..
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2010. On the trail of fascinating church history. 18 October.
---Article in Monograph: Thurlby, M. 1991. The West Front of Binham Priory, Norfolk, and the Beginnings of Bar Tracery in England.. England in the thirteenth Century III: proceedings of the 1989. Ormrod, W.M. (Ed).
---Leaflet: Anderson, J.. 2009. The Priory Church of St Mary and the Holy Cross, Binham: A reflective prayer guide..
---Monograph: Hart, S.. 2010. Medieval Church Window Tracery in England. p 18.
---Photograph: Photarc Surveys. 2008. Photographs of Binham Priory Gatehouse (bull pen enclosure).. Colour print. 1:20.
---Article in Serial: Fernie, E. 1980. Binham Priory. The Archaeological Journal. Vol 137 p 329.
---Recording Form: Heywood, S. 2004. Norfolk County Council Site Visit Record - Binham Priory Gatehouse.
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Medieval. Binham.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---*Rolled Plan: Large Plan Exists.
---Slide: Various. Slide.
---Monograph: Pevsner, N. 1962. North-East Norfolk and Norwich. The Buildings of England. 1st Edition. pp 89-92; Pl 6b, Pl 21.
---Collection: Norfolk Historic Environment Record Staff. 1975-[2000]. HER Record Notes. Norfolk Historic Environment Service.
---Designation: English Heritage. 1990-2013. English Heritage Scheduling Notification. Notification. DNF183.
---Unpublished Document: Chivers, D. 2009. Note on the monumental brass fragments from Binham Priory.
---Article in Serial: Evans, H. F. O. 1969. Norfolk, Binham Priory. Transactions of the Monumental Brass Society. Vol 10 pp 457-458.
<S1>Designation: English Heritage. 1994? -2011?. English Heritage Digital Designation Record. Record. DNF183.
<S2>Article in Serial: Wilson, D. M. and Hurst, D. G. 1966. Medieval Britain in 1964. Medieval Archaeology. p 181.
<S3>Designation: DCMS. [?]-2016. Scheduled Monument Consent. SAM Consent. DNF183.
<S4>Unpublished Contractor Report: Cope-Faulkner, P. 2005. Assessment of the Archaeological Remains from Investigations at Binham Priory, Binham, Norfolk. Archaeological Project Services. 149/05.
<S5>Publication: Jenkins, S. 2000. England's Thousand Best Churches.
<S6>Unpublished Contractor Report: Cope-Faulkner, P. 2007. Interim Report: The Precinct Wall, Binham Priory, Norfolk. Archaeological Project Services. 116/07.
<S7>Unpublished Contractor Report: Cope-Faulkner, P. 2008. Recording of Pits for Interpretation Panels at Binham Priory, Norfolk. Archaeological Project Services. 77/08.
<S9>Website: The Priory Church of St Mary and the Holy Cross The Priory Church of St. 2009. www.binhampriory.org.
<S10>Unpublished Document: Binham Parochial Church Council. 2004. The Priory Church of St Mary & the Holy Cross and the Monastic Precinct, Binham, Norfolk..
<S12>Unpublished Contractor Report: Cope-Faulkner, P. 2009. Assessment of the Archaeological Investigations Undertaken at Binham Priory, Binham, Norfolk. Archaeological Project Services. 137/08.
<S13>Article in Serial: Gurney, D. and Hoggett, R. (eds). 2008. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk in 2007. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLV Pt III pp 441-452. p 441.
<S14>*Verbal Communication: Peter Wade-Martins. 2010. [unknown].
<S15>Article in Serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. 2006. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk in 2005. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLV Pt I pp 124-136. p 124.
<S16>Illustration: Gibbons, J. 2009. Drawing of a medieval lead figurine of the Virgin Mary. Film. 1:1.
<S17>Illustration: Gibbons, J. 2009. Drawing of a medieval gilded copper alloy book mount fragment. Film. 2:1.
<S18>Illustration: Gibbons, J. 2009. Drawing of a medieval/post-medieval copper alloy balance or scale arm. Film. 2:1.
<S19>Illustration: Gibbons, J. 2009. Drawing of a medieval/post-medieval stamped lead sheet ?amulet. Film. 2:1.
<S20>Illustration: Gibbons, J. 2009. Drawing of a post-medieval gilt copper alloy stamped sheet. Film. 2:1.
<S21>Monograph: Cushion, B. and Davison, A. 2003. Earthworks of Norfolk. East Anglian Archaeology. No 104. p 131.
<S22>Article in Serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. (eds). 1997. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 1996. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLII Pt IV pp 547-564. p 548.
<S23>Article in Serial: Gurney, D & Hoggett, R. 2009. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk in 2008. Norfolk Archaeology. XLV Part IV pp 570-578. p 570.
<S24>Unpublished Contractor Report: Emery, G. 2017. Archaeological excavations within a planter and observations of the blocked west window at St Marys Priory Church, Warham Road, Binham, Norfolk. Norvic Archaeology. 93.
<S25>Unpublished Contractor Report: Picalli, J. 2016. St Mary and the Holy Cross, Warham Road, Binham [conservation report]. Building Conservation Solutions Ltd.

Related records

MNO9192Related to: Gatehouse at Binham Priory Warham Road BINHAM (Revoked)

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