Burnham Norton Friary after the Dissolution
Title Details

186 Pages

21.6 x 13.8 cm

23 b/w and 8 line illus.

Imprint: Boydell Press

Burnham Norton Friary after the Dissolution

by Sally Francis

  • Description
  • Contents
The story of the fate of a small Norfolk priory after its dissolution by Henry VIII in 1538 shows how both its medieval and modern history can be recovered by archival and physical research.
Burnham Norton Friary, one of the first Carmelite houses founded in England (1242-47), was dissolved in 1538. Its remains comprise the restored gatehouse, west gable of the church rebuilt as a barn, Friary Cottage and an open space which was once the precinct.

The post-Dissolution history of monastic sites has generally not been well studied. At Norton, nothing was known of its owners between 1561 and 1914, what relationships, if any, they had, or how they used the site. The fate of the Friary buildings was poorly understood and details of the gatehouse restoration unknown. In this pioneering study, Sally Francis uses both modern archival research and a survey of local houses to recover the history and something of the architecture of the friary. Between 1538 and 1848 the church became a barn and the rest of the site was used as a farmstead. In 1848, its owner restored the gatehouse (1848/9), saving it from dereliction, but cleared away the farm buildings to turn the site into an 'Antiquarian relic.'

Studying the post-Dissolution history of the site has been a valuable exercise. It not only allows that phase of the site to be understood, it also illuminates aspects of the site's earlier history, which, given the loss of the Friary's own archives, could not otherwise be studied.
1. Burnham Norton Carmelite Friary: context and history
2. The Friary's owners, the Friary estate and Friar's Farm
2.1. Introduction
2.2. Summary of post-Dissolution owners of the Friary
2.3. The parties and the estate in detail
2.4. Toponymic evidence of the Friary estate
2.5. Discussion
3. The fate of the Friary's buildings
3.1. Introduction
3.2. The date of, and reasons for, the gatehouse restoration
3.3. Analysis of plans and maps of the Friary site
3.4. Analysis of illustrations of the Friary
3.5. Survey of re-used limestone in structures in Burnham Norton
3.6. Discussion
4. A new post-Dissolution chronology of the Friary

Appendix 1. The Friary's holy well and springs
Appendix 2. Prisoners-of-war camp
Appendix 3. Stone survey results

Bibliography

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9781783276745

January 2023

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Title Details

186 Pages

2.16 x 1.38 cm

23 b/w and 8 line illus.

Imprint: Boydell Press