Burnham Norton Friary

Burnham Norton Friary

Perspectives on the Carmelites in Norfolk

The Carmelites, or Whitefriars, founded their fourth house in England some time before 1247 at a coastal site in Burnham Norton, North Norfolk, then known as Bradmer. The priory relocated to its present site slightly farther inland in 1253, and was considerably enlarged during the fourteenth century. Despite its rural location Burnham Friary regularly hosted the Provincial Chapter until its suppression in 1538. Just a few fragments of this significant priory remain visible today, including a much-restored fourteenth-century gatehouse, the ruinous west front of the church and a considerable length of the precinct wall.

In 2017 and 2018 the Norfolk Archaeological Trust, with a range of local partner organisations, investigated the site and its history as part of the Heritage Lottery Fund-supported Imagined Land project. The aim was to offer the people of the Burnhams the chance to explore and celebrate the heritage of the friary site through practical research and creative activities. Archaeological and historical research was presented at two well-attended study days organised in April 2018 as part of the Norfolk Archaeological and Historical Research Group’s contribution to the project. This publication draws together and expands upon this material, and is intended as a catalyst for discourse and future research.




Preface and Introduction Brendan Chester-Kadwell

Part I, Burnham Norton Friary context: landscape, settlement and site analysis

1 Imagined coastlines: coastal change at the port of Burnham Jonathan Hooton

2 The Burnhams from the fifth to the fourteenth centuries Andrew Rogerson

3 The medieval friary site at Burnham Norton and its landscape context Brendan Chester-Kadwell

4 Results of recent archaeological surveys of the Burnham Norton site Giles Emery

5 The existing remains including Friary Cottage and Our Lady’s Well Stephen Heywood

Part II, The Norfolk Carmelites and their cultural context

6 From hermits of Mount Carmel to White Friars in England c. AD 1200–1250 Helen Clarke

7 The urban context: investigation of Norwich Whitefriars Rachel Clarke

8 Benefactors great and small: late medieval wills relating to Burnham Norton Friary John Alban

9 The mission of the Carmelites at Burnham Norton: reflections on the relationship between the lay and religious communities, 1253–1538 Brendan Chester-Kadwell


The medieval Carmelite Priory at Burnham Norton: a chronology Richard Copsey

Notes on contributors, bibliography, index


Some sample pages from the book:

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ISBN 9978-1-9997752-7-8
Publication October 2019.
224 pages, 234 x 156 mm, including c 64 colour and 35 b/w illustrations.
Notes, bibliography and index.