History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: Striking shell of the east tower
The abbey church was built with stone specially imported from Caen in Normandy, and was originally modeled on Norwich Cathedral. This was a large cruciform building with two western towers and a larger central tower. To the south of the church were ranges of domestic buildings. Construction on the priory was finished around 1130, when the first prior was installed.
Dividing the Priory Church
Though the priory was a Benedictine monastery, the founder insisted that the church also serve as the parish church for Wymondham. Unfortunately d'Aubigny did not spell out who should control what part of the building and how disputes should be resolved. Inevitable conflict arose between the townsfolk and the monks. The argument was referred to Pope Innocent IV in 1249, and the Pope rather wisely divided responsibility fairly equally, with the priory granted control of the south west tower, south aisle, transepts. eastern chapels, and quire. The townsfolk for their part were awarded the nave, north aisle, and north west tower.
The ire raised by Flowerdew's actions helped galvanise support for the short-lived Kett Rebellion of 1549. The rebellion was led by Robert Kett, a Wymondham native, who objected to the enclosure of common land. Though it gained some support in East Anglia, Kett's Rebellion was doomed from the start. Kett was arrested and hanged at Norwich. His brother William was hanged from the west tower of the abbey church here at Wymondham. As you look up at the ruined tower today it is sobering to recall this tumultuous time.
The most prominent surviving feature of Wymondham Abbey are the two towers, at the east and west of the nave, which dominate the countryside for miles around. The east tower is an empty shell, accessible from the outside at any time, near a high archway that once linked to the chapter house. As you look up inside the tower towards the sky far above you cannot help but be impressed with the stepped corbels that help give the tower its striking, layered look.
About Wymondham Abbey
Address: Church Street, Wymondham, Norfolk, England, NR18 0PH
Attraction Type: Abbey
Website: Wymondham Abbey
Phone: 01953 607062
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
We've 'tagged' this attraction information to help you find related historic attractions and learn more about major time periods mentioned.
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12th century (Time Period) - 14th century (Time Period) - 15th century (Time Period) - 17th century (Time Period) - chapter house (Architecture) - Elizabeth I (Person) - Henry I (Person) - Henry IV (Person) - Henry VIII (Person) - Norman (Architecture) - Reformation (Historical Reference) - Saxon (Time Period) -
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
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