Record Details

NHER Number:4396
Type of record:Building
Name:Site of St Mary's Abbey

Summary

The site of an abbey founded in 1188 by Hubert Walter, Dean of York, as a daughter house of Welbeck Abbey, for canons of the Premonstratensian order. It sits within a monastic precinct surrounded by a moat and was among the larger religious houses in Norfolk, with up to twenty six canons in the late 13th century, and was also quite wealthy, with extensive estates. Following the Dissolution in 1539, the site and associated lands were granted by Henry VIII to Thomas Dereham of Crimplesham. A house built on the site in the later 16th century was altered and extended in the 1690s by Sir Thomas Dereham on his return from Italy, where he had been envoy to the court of the Grand Duke of Tuscany. This house was largely demolished in around 1810, the remaining part being converted to a farmhouse, the ruins of which were restored in the 1990s. Almost all the abbey buildings have been demolished, but buried foundations survive and can be seen as cropmarks on aerial photographs, as can other earthworks and fishponds.

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:TF 66 00
Map Sheet:TF60SE
Parish:WEST DEREHAM, WEST NORFOLK, NORFOLK

Full description

Premonstratensian abbey 1188 to 1539, possibly on site of Late Saxon nunnery.
Mansion on site from 1695.

1969. Medieval sherds found.

1976. Minor excavations by tenant.

1977 to 8. Metal detecting. Medieval harness pendant.

1990. Lead curse found.

November-December 1991. Trial Trenching.
Evaluation within and around ruins of West Dereham Abbey House. Undertaken prior to the conversion of the ruins into a house.
See report (S1), which was also reproduced in (S2). The results of this work are also summarised in (S3). See (S4), which was produced to support the application for Listed Building consent, for further information on West Dereham Abbey House.
A. Cattermole (NLA), 27 June 2005.

October 1992. Trial Trenching.
Excavation of additional trial trench adjacent to the north-west corner of West Dereham Abbey House.
See report in (S2).
P. Watkins (HES), 19 February 2014.

Winter 1992/1993. Building Recording.
Measured survey of the standing walls of West Dereham Abbey House prior to its redevelopment.
See report in (S2).
P. Watkins (HES), 19 February 2014.

22 July 1993. NLA air photography.
Ruined building visible.
Potential but vague (?) parchmarks and less distinct cropmarks visible.
Earthworks as marked on Ordnance Survey map visible.
M. Brennand (NLA), 12 February 2001.

January-February 1996. Watching Brief.
Observations made during the rebuilding and renovation of West Dereham Abbey House. This work resulted in the recognition of a previously unrecorded room in the mansion and an associated doorway.
See report (S5) for further details. The results of this work are also summarised in (S6) and (S7).

Early 1996. Earthwork Survey.
See report (S8) for plan and details. This site was included in (S9).
P. Watkins (HES), 14 February 2014.

22 July 1996. NLA air photography.
Ruined building visible.
As are parchmarks/cropmarks of building ranges. These are showing very clearly.
H. Clare (NLA), 4 January 2002.

September 1996. Trial Trenching.
Trenches excavated within the ruins of the West Dereham Abbey House service wing prior to redevelopment.
See report (S10) for further details. This work is also summarised in (S11).
Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 19 February 2014.

May 1997. Watching Brief.
Trenches dug under archaeological supervision against the west wall of the service wing as part of underpinning work. Around this time trenches excavated for services cut through the upper fills of a large east-to-west linear feature on the south side of Abbey House. This is the feature that can be seen encircling the house on 19th century cartographic sources and is clear a garden feature.
See report (S10) for further details. This work is also summarised in (S11).
Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 19 February 2014.

See full details in file including copy of reference (S12), architect's plans and photographs and Ordnance Survey earthwork survey. See also press cuttings (S14) to (S18) in file.
E. Rose (NLA), March 1996.

8 May 1998. NLA air photography.
Earthworks and fish ponds to south of the site are clearly visible.
No cropmarks can be seen.
S. Massey (NLA), 22 November 2001.

2001.
Scheduled area includes the remains of St Mary's Abbey within a monastic precinct surrounded by a moat, great house within the precinct later 16th century.
The remains of this have been converted to a farmhouse.
J. Allen (NLA), 16 August 2001.

Monument Types

  • DRAINAGE DITCH (Unknown date)
  • POND (Unknown date)
  • NUNNERY (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • ABBEY (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ABBEY (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ABBEY (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FISHPOND (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • INHUMATION (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • RECTANGULAR ENCLOSURE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ROAD (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • SITE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WATERCOURSE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • GATE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • GREAT HOUSE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • GREAT HOUSE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds

  • BRICK (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FINGER RING (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • HARNESS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • MOLLUSCA REMAINS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ROOF TILE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • THIMBLE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • TILE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WALL PAINTING (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ARCHITECTURAL FRAGMENT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • ARCHITECTURAL FRAGMENT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • CEREMONIAL OBJECT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • ROOF TILE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

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

Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: TF6600 A-ADK,ADR-AEL.
---Scheduling Record: English Heritage. National Heritage List for England.
---Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1993. TF 6600AEX - AEZ, AFB.
---Graphic Material: Various. Various. Architectural plans..
---Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1996. TF 6600AFC - AFJ.
---Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1996. TF 6600AFK - AFP.
---Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1998. TF 6600AFQ - AFU.
---Article in Serial: Clapham, A. W. 1923. The Architecture of the Premonstratensians, with special reference to their Buildings in England. Archaeologia. Vol 73 (Second Series) pp 117-146. p 135.
---Scheduling Record: English Heritage. Scheduling Report.
---Monograph: Ashley, S. 2002. Medieval Armorial Horse Furniture in Norfolk. East Anglian Archaeology. No 101.
---Archive: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards. TF 60 SE 12 [7].
---Photograph: JHN, 15-18, Wood Fragment..
---Archive: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Early Saxon. Dereham (West) [2].
---Archive: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Medieval. Dereham (West).
---Secondary File: Secondary file.
---Slide: Various. Slide.
---Fiche: Exists.
---Photograph: BDD 21-22, FWX, FWY, GYM.
<S1>Unpublished Contractor Report: Penn, K. 1991. Evaluation Report. Site of St Mary's Abbey, West Dereham. Norfolk Archaeological Unit. 70.
<S2>Unpublished Contractor Report: Penn, K., Aitken, P. and Forrest, K.,. 1994. Norfolk Archaeological Unit Archaeological Investigations at Site of St Mary's Abbey, West Dereham, Norfolk. Norfolk Archaeological Unit. 87.
<S3>Article in Serial: Gurney, D. (ed.). 1992. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk in 1991. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLI Pt III pp 371-379. pp 378-379.
<S4>Unpublished Report: Purcell Miller Tritton. 1989. St. Mary's Abbey, West Dereham, Norfolk. Listed Building Consent, Planning Consent, Supporting Documents.
<S5>Unpublished Contractor Report: Penn, K. 1996. Further Observations at St Mary's Abbey, West Dereham. Norfolk Archaeological Unit. 179.
<S6>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 562.
<S7>Article in Serial: Nenk, B. S., Haith, C. and Bradley,. 1997. Medieval Britain and Ireland in 1996. Medieval Archaeology. Vol XLI pp 241-328. p279.
<S8>Unpublished Report: Cushion, B. West Dereham Abbey SMR 4396. Earthwork Survey Report.
<S9>Monograph: Cushion, B. and Davison, A. 2003. Earthworks of Norfolk. East Anglian Archaeology. No 104. p 156.
<S10>Unpublished Contractor Report: Penn, K. Excavations at St Mary's Abbey, West Dereham, on the possible stable range at the former monastic guesthouse complex. Norfolk Archaeological Unit. 339.
<S11>Article in Serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. (eds). 1998. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 1997. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLIII Pt I pp 193-210. p 208.
<S12>Publication: Baggs, A.. 1970. The Country Seat. p.70ff.
<S14>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1987. Classical gateposts at West dereham - drawing.. 16 November.
<S15>Newspaper Article: Lynn News. 1990. 'Save ruins from dust'.. 15 July.
<S16>Newspaper Article: Lynn News. 1998. 12th Century refurbishment.. 5 May.
<S17>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. undated.
<S18>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2002. The Priest House - picture.. 6 February.

Related records - none

Find out more...

Norfolk County Council logo Heritage Lottery Fund logo

Powered by HBSMR-web and the HBSMR Gateway from exeGesIS SDM Ltd, and mojoPortal CMS
© 2007 - 2019 Norfolk Historic Environment Service