2000 Years in one amazing visit

Age of medieval devotion

Discover the monks who commanded some of the most economically powerful institutions in East Anglia.


The landscape and history of Thetford during the medieval period was dominated by the religious houses and churches founded within the town. Some of these foundations had their roots in the pre Conquest period, but rose to greater prominence in the medieval period. All the religious houses in Thetford were dissolved during the Reformation in the sixteenth century.


In the mid thirteenth century the Prior was a man called Stephen, who came from the Savoy region of France. In 1248 Stephen invited his two brothers to Thetford, where they drank and reputedly ignored the religious aspects of life within the Priory. One monk attempted to remonstrate with Stephen about their behaviour but was threatened with expulsion from the Priory. The monk stabbed Stephen in front of the west door of the church and the Prior died of his wounds. The monk, whose name is not recorded, was imprisoned in Norwich Castle.
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© Ancient House Museum, Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service
Key dates
  • 1104
  • 1148
  • 1160
  • 1248
  • 1272
  • 1313
  • 1335
  • 1370
  • 1381
  • 1524
  • 1527
  • 1540
© Ancient House Museum, Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service