This range, built in the 14th century and altered in the 15th, is the last remaining part of the Benedictine Priory founded by the first Bishop of Norwich in about 1100.
At some time after the dissolution of the priory the building was converted into cottages, with doors leading out into Priory Lane. The great archway, which had formerly led into the priory, was blocked up and incorporated into one of the dwellings. By 1970 the cottages were dilapidated and deemed unfit for habitation.
Many important architectural details along with the fine, continuous, king post roof had survived the centuries.
In 1972 the Trust purchased the cottages and an ambitious restoration project commenced, supported by grants, loans and public donations. The plans, drawn up by architect Michael Gooch, were quite radical. The archway was to be re-opened and the cottages ‘turned around’, with their former front doors closed up and new entrances inserted facing the churchyard.
Between the front doors and the churchyard wall a pleasant communal garden space was created.
The cottages were completed in 1974 and sold on long leases.
In 1975, which had been declared European Architectural Heritage Year, the Trust was given an award for the high quality of this restoration project.