Record Details

NHER Number:7754
Type of record:Monument
Name:Site of Mountjoy Priory


The site of a cell of a medieval Augustinian priory, founded in the late 12th century. Nothing of the priory remains today, but fragments of medieval pottery, tile and millstone have been found in the area, together with a medieval copper alloy pendant, and it is possible to identify the footprint of the building, along with various cropmarks and earthworks of linear ditch features from the available aerial photographs.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 1587 1896
Map Sheet:TG11NE

Full description

Site of priory. (Cell).
Founded 1189 to 99 before being taken over by Augustinian Canons in 1210. (S1).
1950. Half of upper stone of lava pot quern 19cm (7 1/2 inches) in diameter. (NCM card, not checked).
1970. Field ploughed for first time in living memory; afterwards pasture again. Base of unglazed stoneware jar with frilly base; Sieburg ware, probably 15th century.

Before 1974. Three millstone fragments and glazed tile.

1975. Found at TG 1580 1902. Bronze pendant decorated in blue enamel. See (S2).
'And there is a place by ye old Abbey or Mange in this town, which is called St Willcamp or St. Will's Camp' (S2) (he derives name from St. William of Norwich); could refer to this site or to moat (NHER 7521).
E. Rose (NAU).

The reference is certainly to this site as a farm map 1997 shows the field immediately northwest of the priory site as 'St Williams'.
E. Rose (NLA), 1997.

The water channels within priory area are marked as 'moat' on old series 6 inch Ordnance Survey map, but shape makes this seem doubtful.
E. Rose (NAU), 7 February 1986.

Farmer states that in digging a drain on the site 'some years before' 1992 he uncovered a 'concrete tunnel' which he was made (by whom?) to cover over again. This sounds as if it may be some modern feature rather than an antiquity. Information via Forestry Commission.
E. Rose (NLA), 27 April 1992.

The establishment was suppressed in 1528 to provide money for Wolsey’s new colleges at Ipswich and Oxford, see (S3).
E. Rose (NLA), 13 April 2007.

October 2009. Norfolk NMP.
The footprint of a building, thought to be Mountjoy priory, is visible on aerial photographs along with various cropmarks and earthworks of linear ditch features (S4)-(S8). Not all the features show on all the available photos, so a composite picture has been built up with a number of photographs, as features are showing in different ways on each photograph. Earthworks of the features, including a possible moat stretching from TG 1579 1904 to TG 1587 1893 are clearly visible on (S6), and are visible as cropmarks on all the remaining photographs except on (S7), where the positive cropmarks are showing as lodging in the crop, and the negative cropmarks such as the possible building footprint are visible as darker marks. The building footprint does show as a parch mark on at least two images (S5) and (S8), however.
This possible structure is centred on TG 1582 1897 and is oriented east-west. The main rectangular body of the building measures 23m x 8m externally, with walls that are approximately 1m thick. A possible annexe is visible to the south, measuring approximately 11m x 6.6m externally. To the north of this structure further parchmarks (S5) suggest the presence of a rectangular structure with possible northern apsidal end at TG 1582 1900, and further possible structural elements are visible to the north and west, although it is difficult to be certain of these. It is stated that ‘...some of the foundations may still be traced’ in (S9) and it may be these that are still showing on (S5) and (S8).
Water management was a major consideration for monastic sites (S10), and it may be possible to distinguish a possible moat (stretching from TG 1579 1904 to TG 1587 1893) and at least one possible mill pond, (at TG 1578 1903) from the aerial photographs, although it is difficult to be certain about the function of these features. It is clear, though, that whilst it is possible that these features may have fulfilled a drainage function, they are on a different alignment to those suggested as drainage 75m to the east (NHER 52344).
E. Bales (NMP), October 2009.

Monument Types

  • CELL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • MOAT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PRIORY (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Associated Finds

  • MILLSTONE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PENDANT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • QUERN (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • TILE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Protected Status


Sources and further reading

---Serial: 1975. Council for British Archaeology Group 7 Bulletin of Archaeological Discoveries for 1975. No 22. p 8.
---Monograph: Ashley, S. 2002. Medieval Armorial Horse Furniture in Norfolk. East Anglian Archaeology. No 101.
---Record Card: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards. TG 11 NE 1 [2].
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Unpublished Document: Haveringalanda..
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Medieval. Haveringland [3].
<S1>Publication: Knowles, D. and Hadcock, R. N. 1971. Medieval Religious Houses of England and Wales. pp 142, 167.
<S2>Publication: London Museum Medieval Catalogue. type V. 2. p 118.
<S3>Article in Serial: O'Sullivan, D. 2006. The 'Little Dissolution' of the 1520s. Post-Medieval Archaeology. Vol 40 Pt 2 pp 227-258. p 234.
<S4>Vertical Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1971. OS/71047 281-2 11-APR-1971 (NMR).
<S5>Vertical Aerial Photograph: Meridian Airmaps Limited. 1976. MAL 76053 144 29-JUN-1976 (NMR).
<S6>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1984. NHER TG 1518A-C (NLA 145/AVQ6-8) 18-APR-1984.
<S7>Vertical Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1992. OS/92337 253-4 11-JUN-1992 (NLA).
<S8>Vertical Aerial Photograph: Google Earth. ? - present. Google Earth Orthophotographs. 02-JUL-2006 Accessed 13-NOV-2009.
<S9>Publication: Messent, C. J. W. 1934. The Monastic Remains of Norfolk and Suffolk. pp 96, 99.
<S10>Article in Monograph: Bond, J.. 2001. Monastic Water Management in Great Britain: A review.. Monastic Archaeology. Keevill, G., Aston, M. & Hall, T..

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