England

Norton Priory: Museum reopens on monastery site

12th Century undercroft vault Image copyright Norton Priory
Image caption The medieval undercroft - used for storage - has been beautifully restored

A new museum has opened on the site of a 12th Century monastery.

Established by Augustinian canons, Norton Priory in Runcorn, Cheshire, has become the most excavated monastic site in Europe with about 70,000 artefacts.

Image copyright Norton Priory
Image caption A statue of St Christopher and other artefacts are among 70,000 items found on the site

The museum replaces an older one after the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) contributed £3.9m to the £4.5m cost of the wider development.

Steve Miller, from the HLF, said it told "the story of 900 years of social, political and religious change".

Image copyright Norton Priory
Image caption Replica tiles were made as part of the transformation

After the monastery's dissolution by Henry VIII in 1536, it became the manor house residence of the Brooke family for 400 years before its demolition in the 1920s.

The previous museum building opened in 1985 following archaeological excavations on the site.

Image copyright Norton Priory
Image caption Building work on the museum started in 2015

About 34,000 people visit the location every year, which includes a walled garden and ruins.

A new cafe will be mainly staffed by people with disabilities, who work for the Halton Borough Council service Country Gardens Catering.

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