Norton Priory and the Norton Priory ‘Monastery to Museum 900’ initiative
Dr Andrew Abram
Research focuses on social, cultural and monastic history, with an emphasis on the Northwest of England and the diocese of Coventry and Lichfield; the English, Anglo-Norman and Angevin world from the eleventh to the thirteenth centuries, and especially the knightly class in British and western European society. This Includes research into networks and methods of lordship and power in northwest England, principally those exercised by the earls and constables of Chester, and monastic history of medieval Britain, in particular the role and impact of the Augustinian movement.
Dr Andrew Abram is participating in the Norton Priory Museum Trust Research Framework, collating and editing the extant documents of the house for publication by the Record Society of Lancashire and Cheshire. Also, during the past two years I have closely advised on a range of historical and interpretative aspects of design briefs, and have delivered public and academic lectures at both Norton Priory and a recent conference (November 2013) at the Merseyside Maritime Museum, Liverpool. Research work interacts with specialists in archaeology, ceramics, forensic anthropology and sculpture, to establish an up-to-date consensus on the value of the museum and site.
Research is feeding into the Trust’s research agenda to build a business case for funding bodies regarding the importance of the site and to provide a framework for future heritage interpretation strategies and promotional activity. Based on these activities the Trust has secured Heritage Lottery development funding of over £250,000.
‘The Augustinian Priory of Wombridge and its Benefactors in the Later Middle Ages’, Monasteries and Society in the Later Middle Ages’, ed. Janet Burton and Karen Stöber (Boydell & Brewer, 2008), 83-94.
A study of the Shropshire community established between c. 1130 and 1136 by William, lord of Hadley, his family. Drawing on abundant and detailed documents, the analysis reveals that over a period of 150 years the canons carved out an estate and lucrative economic assets, donated by a range of pious and community minded knightly benefactors.
‘Knightly Society and the Augustinian Canons in the Northwest of England’, Thirteenth Century England XII, ed. J. Burton, P. Schofield and B. Weiler (Boydell & Brewer, 2009), 141-53.
Explores the close relationship between knightly communities in the northwest of England and houses of Black Canons, such as Lanercost in Cumbria. This shows the diverse and complex nature of support, as well as a religious movement which was happy to accommodate the wishes of both male and female benefactors.
‘Saints, Cult-Centres and the Augustinian Canons in the diocese of Coventry and Lichfield’, The Regular Canons in the British Isles in the Middle Ages, ed. Janet Burton and Karen Stöber (Boydell & Brewer, due 2010/11).
Fitting into a more common pattern of religious settlement and power after the Norman Conquest, this considers the significance of Anglo-Norman foundations at the site of former cult-centres of Anglo-Saxon saints.