Binham Priory is an impressive partial ruin near the North Norfolk coast which has stood here for 1,000 years. Binham Priory was established shortly after the Conquest and remained in place until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 16th century. Today it is an impressive and atmospheric sight, and a must-visit.
History of Binham Priory
St Benedict established his order at Montecassino in the mid-500s and as early as the 8th century English monks declared themselves as Benedictines1. This became the dominant order in Europe until the Middle Ages.
In Norfolk, the Black Monks of the Benedictine Order founded Binham Priory in 1091 and remained there for 400 years. It appears the Priory had a mixed history with some curious Priors. There were only six monks in the building when the Monastery was dissolved in 1539. This is a very small number, but even at its peak there was a maximum of fourteen monks in the Priory. And living in buildings of this extent!
After the Dissolution the estate was given to Sir Thomas Paston (1517-50). He was a Privy Councillor to Henry VIII and Master of the Royal Armouries at Greenwich. As a loyal supporter of his king, Sir Thomas also acquired Blofield Manor and Thorpe Hall.
Today only the nave of the church remains, and this is the local parish church.
Inside the Church
The font is a Seven-Sacrament font and dates from the beginning 15th century. At that time the font was brightly painted and traces of the paint are clearly visible if you look closely. The interior of the church was also painted. The building would have been a riot of colour before the Reformation! The website for the church has details of the panels.
Binham Priory in North Norfolk is a remarkable and interesting site, and also has a self-service cafe if you would like to linger and just enjoy the atmosphere.