Castle Acre Priory in Norfolk
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Picture (c) by John Ashley Photography

Managed by English Heritage the historical ruins at Castle Acre have been been described as one of the finest in southern England. Set in rolling countryside with the attractive village of Castle Acre close by.
Take a few minutes to sample the atmosphere described as a feeling of calm and tranquillity.  There are taped tours available to guide you around and brings the past to life.

There is a spectacular west frontage which stands almost to its original height  The walled herb garden and priors lodging gives you an insight into the life of the priory with many medieval features remaining in the converted dwelling house.  The size and opulence of the lodging give some credence to the rumours that Cluniac houses acquired a reputation for being extravagant and lacking monastic discipline.

It was originally founded by William de Warenne one of the great Norman knights of his time who accompanied William the Conqueror in the Norman invasion of 1066. William with his wife Gundrada visited the Abbey of Cluny in France where he is said to have had a mystical experience.  When he returned to England he established a smaller version of the Cluniac order in Britain and founded the first Cluniac priory at Lewes in Sussex, with a daughter house founded at Castle Acre.

Originally, the priory was sited within the castle walls but this proved both small and inconvenient for the monks, and they relocated it to the present site about one year later.  It remained a home to a community of monks until 1537, when Henry VIII disbanded all monastic houses.  However, the priors lodging continued to be used well into the 18th century.

For Norfolk or Suffolk Bisto