The three Cistercian houses in northern Staffordshire were all of the Savigniac line; Hulton and Dieulacres from Combermere (Cheshire) and Croxden from Aunay-sur-Odon (Normandy). Hulton and Dieulacres were founded within five years of each other and a new church was built at Croxden after 1220. Comparisons between the three, and with the motherhouse at Combermere, are hampered by the lack of excavation on these other sites. In particular, little is known of Combermere, whereas at least parts of the crossing piers and south transept survive above ground at Dieulacres. Geophysical survey, an initial fabric survey and limited excavation at the site have been reported (Klemperer et al 1995). At Croxden, excavation has been confined to the chancel and north transept, reported only in an interim note (Wilson and Hurst 1958), and to a group of buildings to the east of the cloister (Ellis 1997). Much of Croxden's church and cloister, however, survives as substantial ruins and has been studied at various times (for example, Lynam 1911; Baillie Reynolds 1946; Hoey 1993). Taken as a whole, significant information is available from limited excavation, documentary evidence, antiquarian writing, and fabric surveys at Croxden and Dieulacres. The only complete excavation of any monastic house in Staffordshire is that at Benedictine Sandwell Priory (Hodder 1991), now in the West Midlands county.