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Binham Priory
BinhamPriory.JPG
The Priory Church of St Mary and the Holy Cross
General information
Type Priory
Location Binham, Norfolk
Coordinates 52°55′12″N 0°56′43″E / 52.91997°N 0.94523°E / 52.91997; 0.94523Coordinates: 52°55′12″N 0°56′43″E / 52.91997°N 0.94523°E / 52.91997; 0.94523
Completed 11th century
Owner Managed by English Heritage

St Mary's Priory, Binham, or Binham Priory, is a ruined Benedictine priory located in the village of Binham in the English county of Norfolk. Today the nave of the much larger priory church has become the Church of St. Mary and the Holy Cross and is still used as a place of worship. The remains of the priory are in the care of English Heritage. The abbey's west face is the first example in England of gothic bar tracery, predating Westminster Abbey by a decade.

History

The priory was founded in the late 11th century, as a dependent house of St Albans Abbey, by Peter de Valognes and his wife Albreda. After the Norman Conquest, Peter was assigned lands in west and north Norfolk, among them the entire village of Binham. The priory was endowed with the entire manor of Binham, making the prior the lord of the manor, together with the tithes of thirteen other churches in Norfolk. Originally it had 8 monks, rising to 13 or 14 in the 14th century before falling back to 6 immediately before its suppression 1539. "Its history is one of almost continuous scandal." Many of its priors proved to be unscrupulous and irresponsible

A Ley tunnel is said to run from the buildings to an unknown destination and it is reported that many years ago a fiddler decided to explore these passages; he could be heard for some distance before suddenly ceasing. The fiddler was never seen again.

Present day

The priory church continues to be used for parish services. As the priory was dedicated to Mary and the church to the Holy Cross, it is called The Priory Church of St Mary and the Holy Cross.

Burials

  • Peter de Valognes and wife Albreda de Saint-Saveur
  • Roger de Valognes (their son) and his wife Agnes FitzJohn
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