Wymondham – Wymondham Abbey

Wymondham Abbey sits almost a little adrift in the local landscape, a former Benedictine monastery which is still in use as a church. It’s imposing and impressive with its two towers and a more recent modernisation is the latest part of the building’s evolution. Work started on the building at the beginning of the twelfth century and the first main section of the monastery was completed by 1130.

There are interpretation boards around the site that are sensibly placed and have plenty of useful information on them.

This is the west tower which stands 42 metres high, although it was initially intended to be even higher before the money ran out. It was also where William Kett, brother of Robert who led a rebellion in 1549, was hanged from.

The west window was added in the 1450s and this turned out to be a bit of a mistake as the tower was at risk of falling down. So, they put a new central pillar through the middle of the window to help to support the structure. Not the most elegant perhaps, but it works.

This is what is left of the Monks’ Tower, or the east tower, which was built in 1380 to replace the earlier Norman tower that was falling down. Although this is now the end of the church, it previously went back further and this central area is where the choir stalls were once located. The monastery had been used by the town and the monks, so when the Dissolution of the Monasteries came it was decided to take down the monks’ church and leave the rest of the main building. The structure started to fall into some disrepair after this, but Queen Elizabeth I came by in 1573 and she pledged money to help fix the problems.

This is the entrance to the chapter house of the monastery and the cloisters would have sat behind this. The complex was large, and although it has been re-landscaped the area hasn’t been built on. The church’s interior isn’t currently open given the national situation, but hopefully it’ll be back to its normal opening hours again soon.