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Thetford Bishop's Palace

In the civil parish of Thetford.
In the historic county of Norfolk.
Modern Authority of Norfolk.
1974 county of Norfolk.
Medieval County of Suffolk.

OS Map Grid Reference: TL86758306
Latitude 52.41363° Longitude 0.74487°

Thetford Bishop's Palace has been described as a certain Palace.

There are uncertain remains.

Description

The mother church of this city was dedicated to St. Mary, and stood where the free-school, and master of the hospital's house now stands; this, in all probability, belonged to the Bishop of the province, (who, it is to be thought, had a house near it,) till Stigand retained it in his hands, with other revenues of the bishoprick, after he left the see: but upon his disgrace, the King gave it, with the four churches appendant to it, and all that belonged to them, to Bishop Arfast and his heirs, in fee and inheritance, who placed his episcopal chair in it, and afterwards gave the inheritance of it to Richard, his eldest son, and the other four churches to his other sons, and their heirs. This Arfast, assisted by Roger Bygod, rebuilt the church, dedicating it to St. Mary, the Holy Trinity, and all the Saints, and joined his palace, or mansion-house, to the north side of it, towards its west end, of which there is so much now standing, (which serves for a wall to the garden, facing the Canons,) that we can plainly distinguish its breadth; it consisted of a nave, two isles, a north and south transept, (the arch of which now divides the school and master's apartment,) and a chancel or choir, the east end of which reached the street, within about 12 yards, as its foundation discovers, so that it was a noble church, fit for the cathedral of such a see. (Blomefield)
Comments

The short lived cathedral of Thetford was probably near the Grammar school, south of the river in medieval Suffolk, and the bishop probably had a house nearby. The see was transferred to Thetford, from Elmham, in 1075 but then relocated to Norwich in 1094. The see must have been translocated to an existing church (dedicated to St. Mary) although possibly some work was then done to this church. The palace is likely to have been modest and to have been incorporated into the later priory either directly or as a source of building materials.
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This record last updated before 1 February 2016

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