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    • Qype User Templa…
    • Stevenage, Hertfordshire
    • 380 friends
    • 498 reviews
    5.0 star rating
    29/6/2008

    A beautiful garden setting for some stunning Abbey ruins. Scattered along the edges of paths are even more worked stones. Standing are the north and west walls, plus fragments: the Pilgrims' Hospitium (craft fairs are regularly held here), the West Gate and the 14th-century timber-framed Abbot's House (now called the King's Manor which I think is a Nottingham Uni building). The walls include interval towers along the north and west stretches, St Mary's Tower at the northwest corner and a polygonal water tower by the river.

    Go into the Yorkshire museum, itself a good place to go, and you get to go below to see even more of the Abbey which would be underground if not there. Excavated finds and architectural features, particularly relating to the warming house and late twelfth century chapter house as well. Mesmerising.

    The abbey was founded in 1055 and dedicated to Saint Olave. In 1539, during the Dissolution of the Monasteries under Henry VIII, it was closed and subsequently substantially destroyed.
    St. Mary's was once the largest and richest Benedictine establishment in the north of England and the abbots were famously decadent. Lincoln Cathedral came under its juristiction. The abbey featured heavily in the early medieval ballads of Robin Hood.

    The remains of St. Leonard's Hospital chapel and undercroft are on the east side of the gardens which has the most beautiful vaulted ceiling and some empty tombs.

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