Binham Priory from the west

Dave Godden

Maidstone, United Kingdom

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Binham Priory, Binham near Fakenham, Norfolk

English Heritage.

Canon EOS1000D treated with Topaz in Photoshop CS5

Founded in about 1091 by the Norman baron Peter des Valoines, the priory was built on land given to him by his uncle, William the Conqueror. It was home to about 14 monks and a prior.

The construction of the church spanned close to 150 years, starting in the 1090s. The façade was not completed until shortly before 1244 and its huge central window is the earliest surviving example in England of a decorative form called ‘bar tracery’.

The buildings were adapted and extended throughout the medieval period, but life at the priory changed dramatically in 1539 when it was closed by King Henry VIII at the time of the dissolution of the monasteries. It was given to Sir Thomas Paston, an important royal servant, who dismantled most of the buildings.

The nave continued in use as Binham’s parish church, and with the support of the local community, has survived to the present day.

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