Finchale Priory: children and heritage sites

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Finchale Priory © David Gill

The Benedictine priory of Finchale Priory in County Durham is situated in a bend of the river Wear.

There are two Ministry signs warning of the dangers to be found at a heritage site: one on the north side of the church, and the other at the first floor entrance to the hall.

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Finchale Priory © David Gill

The guidebook was written by Sir Charles Peers.

Abbot’s Bridge at Bury St Edmunds

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Abbot’s Bridge, Bury St Edmunds © David Gill

The Abbot’s Bridge takes the precinct wall of the abbey over the river Lark. The bridge is adjacent to the east gate of the town on the north-east corner of the precinct. The bridge dates to the 13th century.

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Abbot’s Bridge, Bury St Edmunds © David Gill

Bury St Edmunds Abbey: Warnings

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Bury St Edmunds Abbey © David Gill

Bury St Edmunds Abbey was placed in State Guardianship in 1955. Signs indicating different parts of the abbey and the precinct were placed around the remains (e.g. crypt, crossing, lecture room). Visitors were discouraged from climbing the walls. Similar signs can be seen at Kirkham PrioryHadleigh Castle and Pickering Castle.

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Bury St Edmunds Abbey © David Gill

What appears to be a pre-Ministry sign threatened those who damaged the walls with prosecution. However workmen from the Ministry had assisted with the consolidation of the ruins in 1928 and these signs may date to this phase (and see also Brough Castle).

Bury St Edmunds: Norman Tower

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Bury St Edmunds Abbey, Norman Tower © David Gill

The Norman Tower was constructed in the period 1120 to 1148 under Abbot Anselm. It stands opposite the end of Churchgate Street, and in front of the west end of the abbey church. It served as a gateway to the abbey (completed in 1095) and the bell tower to the adjacent church of St James (now St Edmundsbury Cathedral).

Abbot Anselm was also responsible for the construction of the precinct wall, the church of St James, and the church of St Mary (at the south-west corner of the precinct).

The present ground level is well over the original street level. The tympanum over the western entrance was removed in 1789, and the battlements on the tower in 1842-46.

The Norman Tower, along with other parts of the abbey remains, is in the care of English Heritage.

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Bury St Edmunds Abbey, Norman Tower © David Gill

The Abbey of Bury St Edmunds: Crypt

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Abbey of Bury St Edmunds © David Gill

The crypt of the abbey at Bury St Edmunds lies at the east end of the abbey church. The new stone church was constructed during the time of Abbot Baldwin. A comparable crypt can also be seen at St Augustine’s Abbey at Canterbury.

The shrine of St Edmund was located behind the high altar, immediately above the crypt.

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Abbey of Bury St Edmunds © David Gill

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Abbey of Bury St Edmunds © David Gill

At the east end of the crypt were three chapels. In the centre was the chapel of St Mary in the crypt, and to its north the chapel of St Anne.

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Abbey of Bury St Edmunds © David Gill

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Abbey of Bury St Edmunds © David Gill

On the south side was the chapel of St Robert, with the altar of Edward the Confessor.

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Bury St Edmunds Abbey © David Gill

 

Reredorter at Bury St Edmunds

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Bury St Edmunds Abbey © David Gill

The reredorter for the abbey at Bury St Edmunds lies to the east of the dorter (i.e. one the side closest to the river Lark) and to the north of the prior’s house. The structure appears to date to the 13th century.

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Reredorter at Bury St Edmunds Abbey © David Gill

For other examples: Binham Priory; Castle Acre Priory; Rievalux Abbey.