Remains of the Abbey Church of St Edmund, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk - 28th September 2005

The main entrance to the abbey grounds is through the abbey gate, built to replace  its Norman predecessor, which probably looked much like the one up the street now in use as the bell tower for St James's Church (St Edmundsbury Cathedral).  The original gate was demolished in a riot by the people of Bury in 1327.  These two towers are the only two parts of the abbey to have survived in their complete state.

Former Abbey, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk - 28th September 2005 - MTC

Here is the glorious Norman tower, bell tower to St James's Church and grand entrance to the former abbey precinct.

Former Abbey, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk - 28th September 2005 - MTC

Inside the abbey grounds, little is to be found of the abbey church - the vandalism following the Dissolution of the Monasteries saw to that.  There are the flint and rubble remains of the cores and skeletal remnants of the ancient (and massive) walls, their worked facings long removed for reuse elsewhere and modern markers for the graves of long dead abbots.

The crypt below the chancel has been excavated, and it requires some imagination to reconstruct the high altar and tomb of St Edmund that once existed in the chancel above this space.

Former Abbey, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk - 28th September 2005 - MTC

Here is a view of the remains of the great crossing.  Enormous masonry arches supported a tower above here.

Former Abbey, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk - 28th September 2005 - MTC

The ruins below are what is left of the north transept.

Former Abbey, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk - 28th September 2005 - MTC

I thoroughly recommend the article on St Edmunds Abbey (as well as all the other articles on his excellent site!) written by Simon Knott on his Suffolk Churches website.

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