Monument details

HER Number:66/1/7
Type of record:Archaeology
Name:Norton Priory - Priory Church


The Priory church, dedicated to St Mary, would have been the principal building in the precinct. Research excavations carried out at Norton between 1970 and 1987 identified at least eight phases of activity. The church was thoroughly demolished following the Dissolution.

The earliest phase of the church was Romanesque in style and considerably smaller than the remains visible today, measuring 61m in length and consisted of a simple cruciform church with an aisle-less nave, the crossing (including the north and south transepts) and a square ended chapel. The second phase of construction saw the extension of the north transept through the addition of a small chapel on the east side in the mid to late 12th century. Towards the end of the 12th century (phase 3), the church was extended again by the addition of an extended chancel at the east end and an extension to the western end of the nave. In the first half of the 13th century (phase 4) further expansion to the north and south transept was identified through the addition of a chapel complex to the north and a smaller chapel extension to the south. The north transept extension, labelled the north east (north) chapel, was likely built on behalf of the Dutton family. In 1236 a fire damaged substantial portions of the church and thick deposits of charcoal are recorded in the nave area. It was suggested that the addition of substantial chapels to the north and south represented an attempt to raise money for repairs.

In the mid to late 13th century (phase 5), the only addition to the church was the construction of the North East Lady Chapel as another extension to the north transept. The chapel possibly included a raised dais or altar. The sixth phase of church construction dates to the late 13th to 14th century and represents the addition of several high status components including a substantial reliquary at the eastern end of the church and a south-east chapel extending the south transept. This period also saw the addition of the first tiled floor probably dates to the early half of the 14th century, based on the discovery of a coin of Edward I. The first floor was a mosaic pattern covering much of the main church space and appeared to remain in use throughout the 14th century.

The 15th century (phase 7) saw the elevation of the priory to an abbey and the adoption of a secondary saint – St Christopher. The church was again extended, this time with the addition of a north aisle along the nave and the laying of a new, less ornate, tiled floor. The church was systematically and thoroughly demolished following the Dissolution of the monasteries in 1539.


Monument Types

  • PRIORY (AD 12TH CENTURY to AD 15TH CENTURY - 1115 AD to 1422 AD)
  • CHURCH (AD 12TH CENTURY to AD 16TH CENTURY - 1135 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CHAPEL (AD 12TH CENTURY to AD 16TH CENTURY - 1150 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CHANCEL (AD 12TH CENTURY to AD 16TH CENTURY - 1175 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CHAPEL (AD 13TH CENTURY to AD 16TH CENTURY - 1200 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CHAPEL (AD 13TH CENTURY to AD 16TH CENTURY - 1275 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CHAPEL (Reliquary, AD 13TH CENTURY to AD 16TH CENTURY - 1275 AD to 1539 AD)
  • AISLE (north Aisle, AD 15TH CENTURY to AD 16TH CENTURY - 1400 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ABBEY (AD 15TH CENTURY to AD 16TH CENTURY - 1422 AD to 1539 AD)
Protected Status:Listed Building (I) 1130433: REMAINS OF NORTON PRIORY; Scheduled Monument 1015603: Augustinian Abbey Known As Norton Priory

Related records

66/1/0Related to: Norton Priory - Augustinian Abbey (Monument)

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