In The Media
Binham Priory, Norfolk.
A mediaeval church and monastery
Binham Priory was founded around 1091 by the Norman baron Peter des Valoines, on land given by Peter's uncle, William the Conqueror. Construction of the church began in the 1090's and took almost 150 years to complete. Prior Richard de Parco, one of Binham's more diligent priors, was probably responsible for beginning the magnificent west front of the church. Binham was small, with just 14 monks at its peak in 1320, dropping to 11 in 1381 and then just 6 in the 1530s. William de Somerton, who was prior from 1317 until 1335, sold many of the priory's valuable items in order to finance his alchemical experiments, leaving the priory £600 in debt. The monastery was closed in 1539 as part of the Suppression of the Monasteries under Henry VIII. The priory was then given to Sir Thomas Paston, a local man and an important royal servant, who dismantled most of the buildings in order to build a new house at Wells. Stone from the priory was sold and reused in many local houses, particularly around doors and windows. Thomas Paston's grandson, Edward, began to carry out further demolition works, with the intention of building a new house on the site. These plans were brought to an abrupt end when a workman was killed by falling masonry. This was considered a bad omen, and the project was abandoned. The seven western bays of the nave were later sealed off from the rest and continued in use as Binham's parish church, which has survived to the present day.
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