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Vital repairs to save West Acre Priory ruins for future generations

Historic England has provided a grant for repairs to the gatehouse and ruins of West Acre Priory in Norfolk. Once complete, the repairs will stabilise the condition of the ruins so that we can remove the priory from our Heritage at Risk register.

The Priory was one of the largest in Norfolk and one of five religious houses sited along the Nar Valley. Now part of West Acre Estates, it once belonged to the order of St Augustine.

Ruined gate house next to the church at West Acre Priory.
Repairs to the gatehouse are part of works to stabilise the ruins of West Acre Priory © Historic England

What the priory ruins can tell us

The Augustinians were not monks in the strict sense, but rather communities of canons - or priests - living under the rule of St Augustine. In England they were known as `black canons' because of their dark robes and to distinguish them from the Cistercians who wore light clothing. The Augustinians contributed to many facets of medieval life and all of their monasteries with significant surviving archaeological remains are protected.

The well-preserved monastic precinct at West Acre Priory illustrates the general layout of the monastery as a whole. Amongst these ruins lies more archaeological information about the life and economy of this Augustinian community.

The priory ruins are of high significance and have been on Historic England’s Heritage at Risk register for a number of years. We’ve been working with the Estate and with the County Council to enable these repairs.

Find out why West Acre Priory is a protected monument

Detail shot of corner stone work in the church at West Acre Priory.
The ruins at West Acre Priory retain more archaeological information about the life and economy of the Augustinian community that once flourished there © Historic England

New grant will fund further repairs to Stow Maries First World War Aerodrome

Historic England has just approved a grant for a further stage of repairs to the most complete surviving example of a First World War Aerodrome in Europe. The site would be of international significance at any time, but 2017 marks 100 years since the Aerodrome became operational.

Many of the buildings are little changed since then. Slight and impermanent in their construction, some of the buildings have been taken down or fallen down and all are now on the Heritage at Risk Register. A new Trust with funding from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, Historic England and others aims to tell the story of Stow Maries and the part that its airmen and women played in the First World War. A major collection of artefacts and flying historic aircraft is already established here and continues to grow.

Stow Maries airfield in Essex, is probably the best preserved First World War airfield in Europe and its 24 original buildings are listed at Grade II*.
Stow Maries airfield in Essex, is probably the best preserved First World War airfield in Europe and its 24 original buildings are listed at Grade II* © Private Collection


Training opportunities coming up in the East of England

The Historic Environment Local Management (HELM) Training courses are free to attend for Local Authority, regional and national organisation's staff.

Listed below are the latest training opportunities in the East of England:

  • Managing Ecclesiastical Places of Worship
    Share and discuss best practice and the policy context for the sustainable management of places of worship.
    Thursday 20 October 2016
  • Conservation Area Management
    Learn about the important role of a conservation area survey, and how it can be used to underpin management priorities at a local level.
    Thursday 9 February 2017
  • Introduction to Archaeology for Planners
    An introduction to archaeology and an understanding of its role in the planning process. This course is aimed at planners and will enable you to collaborate more effectively with heritage professionals.
    Thursday 30 March 2017

For more information on any of the above course contact the training delivery team on

Find out more about HELM opportunities across the country.

Follow us on Twitter @HE_EoE to keep up to date with all the latest training opportunities, news and pictures from the region.

How Historic England is helping to save the Naze Tower Art Gallery

A £170,000 grant from the East of England has helped to safeguard the future of the Naze Tower at Walton-on-the-Naze.

Built in 1720, this 86-foot navigational tower was re-pointed in sand and cement during the 1970s. This resulted in excessive damp problems putting its continued use as an art gallery at risk. Our grant helped to fund a programme of works including completely repointing the tower with lime mortar and lime washed internally, both of which allow the building to breathe.

Find out more about the restoration works at the Naze Tower.

You can add your pictures and information to the list entry for the Naze Tower.

Practical advice about caring for historic buildings can be found under Looking After Historic Buildings.

Naze Tower
Naze Tower listed Grade II*, Walton-on-the-Naze. The tower houses a gallery, museum, tea room and viewing platform. © Historic England
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