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The Norfolk Churches Site: an occasional sideways glance at the churches of Norfolk

Prior's house chapel, Castle Acre

the Prior's house - the chapel was at the other end of the top floor

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    Prior's house chapel, Castle Acre
the author in the sedilium. He should have taken his sunglasses off.   The Prior's house is the best preserved part of the Castle Acre Priory. It may appear to us to be some sort of gatehouse, standing as it does at the west end of the priory church, but in fact the gatehouse is back at the English Heritage commercial concession at the entrance.

It may seem odd that the Prior should have his own chapel, but as a Priest he was committed to saying Mass everyday, as Priests are even today, and this was where it would usually happen. The chapel is on the top floor of the two-storey building, and probably dates from a remodelling in the later 14th century. The top storey is divided into the chapel and the Prior's private chamber, although the existence of a piscina and an angel corbel in the chamber suggests that there had been an earlier chapel here.

The 14th century chapel has a simple three-light window, an elaborate sedilium and, loveliest of all, surviving panels in the canopy of honour still painted with roses. There are traces of wall paintings, and, just for a moment, all the trappings of English Heritage fall away, and you can sense the eternal.

Simon Knott, May 2005

   

view of the priory church from the chapel window piscina in the Prior's chamber sedilium Jacquie in the Prior's chamber
canopy of honour sanctuary angel corbel in the Prior's chamber

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The Norfolk Churches Site: an occasional sideways glance at the churches of Norfolk