|View across the abbey church||One of many stone coffins|
|The storage area of the undercroft||Entrance to the undercroft|
An Augustinian priory was founded at Runcorn in 1115 by the Baron of Halton. The site was moved to Norton in 1134. The main church, consisting of nave, choir and chancel was built in the middle of the 12th century. The cloister garth, a chapter house and dormitory range were added, followed by the refectory range and cellarer's range. The nave was extended to the west, two chapels were added on either side of the chancel and new chapter house was built in the first half of the 13th century. A chapel east of the chancel was added in the late 13th or early 14th century. Following the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the priory and some of its land was bought by Sir Richard Brooke who built a Tudor house on the site. Later this was replaced in 1751 by a Georgian house. The Brooke family lived at Norton until 1921 and for the next 50 years the site was abandoned. Archaelogy began in the 1970s to reveal the outline of the priory. All that remains standing is the undercroft of the cellarer's range.
The Brooke family of Norton Priory were the antecedents of the Brookes of Mere near Knutsford.
Also on the site of Runcorn Priory, and well worth a visit, is a magnificent walled garden.