How Norton Priory appears to have been enlarged

Priory Plan

Archaeological evidence is that Norton Priory expanded in about 1200 A.D., maybe due to an increase in the number of Canons and therefore more living space required. See how Norton Priory grew by moving your mouse on and off the small plan of the priory, (or the red box marked "priory plan"), top left. The main changes were that the Cellarer's range(4) and the Refectory(3) were moved further away from the church(1). This made the cloister area(2) larger. A new kitchen (3a) was built. The church nave was lengthened at the West end of the church(7) and a small piece was also added to the East end(7a). A new larger Chapter House(6) was built and the dorter (sleeping) range(5) was extended and a toilet block (reredorter)(8) added at the end.

These all show as the red areas on the plan. (N.B. Neither of these diagrams is to scale.) The largely unchanged buildings after 1200 A.D. are shown in yellow. These were the church and the original dorter range. The effect of the great fire of 1234 A.D. probably caused some changes to design, but the main layout of 1200 A.D. appears to have been adhered to. Even later additions, shown in blue, were the East end chapel (1300 A.D.)(9), perhaps built to house "the Holy Cross of Norton", the Dutton Chapels (10) added-to probably over many years, where many members of the Dutton family were buried, the Abbot's tower (12) built after Norton became an Abbey in 1391 A.D. and the north aisle (11) probably added in the 15th.C. The black areas on both diagrams between the church and the cellarer's range indicates the passageway which led from the outer courtyard to the cloister. Other buildings were also built around the sides of the outer courtyard. These were probably for guests.

Aisles in Augustinian Priory Churches

Most Augustinian Priory churches were initially built without aisles. When, for reasons of space for burials, aisles became necessary, only one could be added on the north side of the nave. The south side of the nave had the cloister and the claustral buildings there and would have needed a very extensive rebuilding of almost the whole of the Priory to accomodate a south aisle to the church. Even today churches which were originally Augustinian Priory churches may have only one aisle on the north side, even though the all the rest of the monastic buildings may now have disappeared.(cf. Lanercost Priory and Brinkburn Priory.) Both these old Priory Churches in the North of England are well worth a visit. They provide an idea of what Norton Priory would once have looked like,

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