Monday, June 9, 2014

Artz of a Haunted Priory

Binham Priory or St. Mary's Priory, Binham as it is also called, lies as a stately, yet haunting ruin. Most of it is gone, dissasembled piece by piece for the stones by the Paston family who bought the Priory and the land during the reign of Henry VIII and his Dissolution of the Churchs in 1539.  That is it was until a stone fell from the top of one of the arcades and killed one of the workers. Taking this as a sign from GOD the workers fled in fear vowing never to return. 

Are those the moans of a man? Is that the rattle of chains you believe you are hearing?  In 1130 the prior from a neighboring Priory having descended into a violent madness and bursts of terrifying insanity is said to have been taken away in chains and locked in a monk's cell in the lower parts of Binham Priory. Dying alone and still wearing his chains he was buried in the Priory yard. 

In 1335 using the wealth from the Prior treasury; one of the priors who had been experimenting with alchemy fled the Priory for fear he would be accused of witchcraft and burned when he was discovered or so the legend tells. He was never seen again. 

Then there is  the  "Black Monk" who has been seen by many people stepping out of  the Ley tunnel, which runs from the nave of the priory to the shrine of Our Lady in Walsingham 3 miles away, and wandering away over the grounds moving his head from side to side as though he is searching for something. 
But, those are  not the only eerie tales associated with Binham Priory. 
                                 Bnham Priory - Cheryl Surrey

 One afternoon a fiddler was enticed to follow the tunnel playing his fiddle all the way. His name was Jimmy and  he agreed  to seek out the reason why the "Black Monk" haunted the tunnel and entered into the passageway. His fiddle could be heard for quite some time drifting through the air,  and from under the ground where he walked the tunnel.  The music grew fainter and then suddenly was no more. The fiddler was never seen again. But sometimes when the day is just slient enough people have claimed to hear a fiddle playing not far from the Priory near an ancient burial mound that became known as Fiddlers Hill. 

Jimmy was not alone that day when he entered the Ley tunnel. His dog went with him. Unlike Jimmy though, several minutes after the music stopped the dog came running back out. A whimpering, trembling dog with his tail tucked under his legs and in a state of shock.  That night a storm raged over Binham Priory, the village and much of Norfolk. The next day the dog had disappeared and the entrance to the Ley tunnel where Jimmy went in was destroyed and caved in. 

                                              Medieval Grafitti in Binham Priory, Norfolk

In 1933 a road crew was widening the road near the burial mound known as Fiddlers Hill not far from the Binham Priory. As they were digging up ground they discovered three skeletons. One of those was a dog. 

Binham Priory is a Benedictine Priory in Binham, Norfolk, England and was founded by a nephew of William the Conquerer, Piers de Valognes, my 29th Great Grandfather and his wife Albreda.  A weekly market was held at the Priory and on Lady Day, March 25 each year a fair was held. Part of the original church was spared and is still used as a Parish Church today. 
                                   Binham Priory by Andy Waspe 

This week we present Artz of a Haunted Priory.

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