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 Norfolk Castle Acre Priory


pit stop for pilgrims over the centuries, with a recreated herb garden. The delightful village of Castle Acre boasts an extraordinary wealth of history and is a good example of Norman estate planning. Situated on the Peddars Way, Castle Acre was originally built as a fortified town, protected by its own banks, gateways and ditch. While the town provided for the material needs of the occupants of the castle, the Cluniac priory was built to cater for their spiritual requirements.

Castle Acre Priory was inspired by the monastery at Cluny in France and was home to a community of monks until 1537, when Henry VIII disbanded all monastic houses. The village stands on the Pilgrim routes to Thetford, Bromholm Priory and Walsingham. The priory's ruins span seven centuries and include a beautiful 12th-century church with an elaborately decorated west front, still rising to its full height, a 15th-century gatehouse and a porch and prior's lodging still fit to live in.

The recreated herb garden situated next to the visitor centre grows herbs that the monks would have used for medicinal, strewing, culinary and decorative purposes. At the other end of the village stand the ruins of one of the finest motte and bailey castles in England, featuring a double moat around the keep and bailey. The Bailey Gate in the village centre is also worth a look.

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