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.
Here is the glorious Norman tower, bell tower to St James's Church and grand entrance to the former abbey precinct.
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.
Here is a view of the remains of the great crossing. Enormous masonry arches supported a tower above here.
The ruins below are what is left of the north transept.
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.
Visitors to this album since June 2003
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