Medieval dig starts at Norton Priory

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Archaeological volunteers at Norton Priory in 1987 © Norton Priory/Facebook

Archaeological volunteers at Norton Priory in 1987 © Norton Priory/Facebook

Runcorn’s Norton Priory has let archaeological novices help out at a medieval dig which has reopened for the first time in almost 30 years.

The priory was founded in 1134 and was home to an order of Augustinian priests. During its time it saw a number of redesigns which promoted it to Abbey status. Much of the original layout can be seen today.

Lynn Smith, senior keeper at Norton Priory told JMU journalism: “We are really excited to dig in this area, the trenches are in place. We hope to find the remains of the priory’s medieval moat.”

Leading the excavation is Dan Garner, who has previously led the excavation of the Roman amphitheatre in Chester.

The Priory is the most excavated monastic site in Europe, but there is so much more to learn according to Lynn Smith.

Members of the public were asked once before to get involved in the dig in 1987 and organisers are excited to be able to open its doors once more.

Thanks to funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, places are available every day from September 23 to October 4, excluding the weekend, with a fee of £10 per day.

The excavation is part of development work for a major capital project. The museum is hoping for another grant of the Heritage Lottery Fund later this year.

The results of the dig will be revealed at the Norton Priory conference at the Merseyside Maritime Museum in Liverpool on October 26.

About Gemma Brezinski, JMU Journalism