NORTON PRIORY MUSEUM
About Norton Priory Museum and Gardens
Right on the doorstep of Windmill Hill is the amazing Norton Priory Museum and Gardens. Norton Priory is the most excavated monastic site in Europe, it is an excellent attraction that draws people in from all over the United Kingdom and beyond.
One of the highlights of the new exhibition at the museum is the story of ‘Geoffrey de Dutton’, a crusader knight who appears to have been murdered in the 13th century. The Welcome Trust funded display shows how osteoarchaeologists discovered how he died, as well as a facial reconstruction demonstrating how he looked in life. As well as the exhibits detailing the medieval monastery, the displays also interpret Norton’s later story as a great house. Visitors can explore the medieval undercroft and priory ruins or venture further into the surrounding woodland to discover secret summer houses and stream glades.
The Norton Priory Museum grounds include a stunning 18th century Walled Garden which offers orchards, a fruit garden and a beautiful rose walk, surrounded by woodland and a wildflower meadow. The gardens are open all year around. The Norton Priory Trust have a wide ranging events programme, with activities for visitors of all ages!
There is also a new children’s play area for the little ones, regular lectures, tours and courses in traditional crafts, so there is always something happening at Norton Priory. The Norton Priory Trust also manages Halton castle and provides tours every Sunday at 2pm, from May through to September.
THE NEW MUSEUM
Constructing the new Norton Priory Museum
Recently, Norton Priory and their partners Halton Borough Council, received a £3.7 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund for a new redeveloped museum and an extension to the previous building. Thanks to the grant from the HLF and other benefactors, its brand new £4.5m museum tells its incredible 900 year story, displaying hundreds of medieval and later period artifacts discovered during the extensive archaeological digs.
We are delighted with the new build – it looks fantastic! The new exhibition spaces and the display cases are all fitted out with many historical objects. Overall there are more than four times the number of items on display than there were previously and recent research has shed new light on many of them.
All 900 years of history was recently celebrated for the special launch on the 13th and 14th August in 2016, when the museum and ruins were taken over by re-enactors of all the periods, from the Norman invasion to the First World War. There really is lots to see and do at the new Norton Priory Museum, so get down there and enjoy your local awe-inspiring attraction.
As always, admission is completely free for Windmill Hill residents!