Record Details

NHER Number:4295
Type of record:Building
Name:Site of Benedictine Priory and St Nicholas' Middle School


This is the site of a Benedictine Priory, founded in 1101 by Herbert de Losinga, and dissolved in 1539. The refectory of the Priory, dating from about 1300, is the only surviving building. The Priory church was the parish church of St Nicholas, see NHER 4329. The site is now occupied by a school, built in 1853 in the Gothic Revival style. The refectory is used as the school hall.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 5247 0797
Map Sheet:TG50NW

Full description

Benedictine Priory founded before 1101, dissolved 1539.
Only refectory survives; north and south doors, 13th or 14th century, and windows in Decorated style but 19th century restorations. 18.3m x 9.1m.
Said to have an open timber roof and an ornate southeast door (not seen), now a school hall.
Doorway in churchyard wall to west also appears genuine.
On rest of site stands a school of 1853 in Gothic Revival buildings of good quality.
Cloisters to south were demolished 1811 after being used as cottages.
Vicarage (NHER 12462) stands on site of guest house.
Richard II lodged here in 1382.
Formerly scheduled and now listed Grade I.
See (S1) and (S2).
Visited by E. Rose (NAU) 26 April 1977.

The parish church (NHER 4329) was the priory church.
(S3) notes 'the priory south of the church is used as a flag house'.
New buttress to be added centre south wall between door and window to east in 1983.
E. Rose (NAU)

For 3 to 4 monks, with 3 secular chaplains and a deacon serving in the parish church of St Nicholas.
At one time the establishment consisted of a prior, 8 monks, 3 chaplains, a deacon and 2 clerks.
Great Hall restored in 1853 by J. H. Hakewill.
See (S4).
R. J. Rickett (NAU) 11 May 1990.

(S1) gives detailed description including 5 screens passage doors surviving, and former museum to one side.
E. Rose (NLA) 28 April 1999.

(S5) in file gives brief description and assessment of building not going into great detail.
E. Rose (NLA), 8 July 2005.

In the southeast wing of the 19th century is a plaque apparently imitating one of the Elgin Marbles, and a section of Greek cornice. One assumes these are copies but they are only known from photographs.
E. Rose (NLA), 21 April 2005.

October 2006. Watching Brief.
Monitoring of excavation of service trench within churchyard of St Nicholas' Church (NHER 4329).
The remains of a structural wall were observed, which possibly related to the cloister building of the Priory of St Nicholas.
See report (S6) and NHER 65454 for further details.
P. Watkins (HES), 13 March 2022.

November 2006. Building report.
The church of St Nicholas and the small Benedictine cell was founded by Bishop Herbert de Losinga (AD 1094-1119). The only surviving part of the priory is the 'great hall' and based on stylistic evidence it is likely to be of mid-14th century date. The cloisters filled the space between the church and the great hall and it is likely that the hall was the frater or refectory of the priory according to standard layouts. Faden's map of 1797 shows some surviving buildings in this part of the churchyard but it is difficult to see how they could have formed part of the cloister garth. The priory screen is a fine and rare surviving feature and consists of a five bay arcade of two-centre arches surmounted by ogee hoods with small hollowed-out trefoils at their heads.
See (S7) for further details.
S. Howard (NLA), 19 May 2010.

Monument Types

  • REFECTORY (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PRIORY (Medieval to 16th Century - 1101 AD to 1539 AD)
  • SCHOOL (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status

  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Designation: [unknown]. Ancient Monuments Form. SAM Record. DNF830.
---Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A.. 1995. TG5207/ABM,ABS,ABT.
---Drawing: Various. Various. Architectural plans.
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Newspaper Article: Yarmouth Mercury. 1928. [unknown]. 19 May.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1978. Window looks back 700 years. 11 April.
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Medieval. Yarmouth (Great).
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Collection: Norfolk Historic Environment Record Staff. 1975-[2000]. HER Record Notes. Norfolk Historic Environment Service.
<S1>Designation: Historic England. National Heritage List for England. List Entry 1245978.
<S2>Publication: Knowles, D. and Hadcock, R. N. 1971. Medieval Religious Houses of England and Wales. pp 58, 82.
<S4>Record Card: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards. TG 50 NW 36 [2].
<S5>Unpublished Document: Rose, E. (NLA). 2005. Building Report.. Building Report.
<S6>Unpublished Contractor Report: Birks, C. 2006. Report on an Archaeological Watching Brief at St Nicholas' Church, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk. Chris Birks Archaeological Services. CB072R.
<S7>Unpublished Document: Heywood, S. 2006. Building report by S. Heywood for the priory of St Nicholas, Great Yarmouth. Building Report. November.

Related records

MNO879Related to: St Nicholas (Priory) Middle School Priory Row GREAT YARMOUTH (Revoked)

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