Saturday, 12 January 2013

St. Edmundsbury Cathedral, Suffolk

We make our way from the ruins on into the Cathedral via. some pretty gardens

There is such an interesting history to this cathedral that I thought it worth relating in detail
A great mixture of the old and the new

St. Edmund and The Abbey
The origins of the modern cathedral begin with the martyrdom of the Christian Kind Edmund by invading Vikings in AD 869. His body was taken to the town of Beodricsworth and a monastic community looked after his shrine. By 1020 a Benedictine Abbey had been founded by King Cnut, and this grew in importance. The Frenchman Abbot Baldwin, appointed abbott by King Edward the Confessor in 1065, began the building of the abbey church and devised plans for enlarging the town. In the 12th century Abbott Anseim continued the expansion begun by Baldwin of the now wealthy and influential abbey, and replaced the parish church of St. Denis with a new church of St. James. It is believed that the dedication was chosen because Anseim had failed to make an intended pilgrimage to the shrine of St. James at Compostela in Spain. Work to extend St. James' church westward began in 1503 with design work by master mason John Wastell who also designed King's College Chapel, Cambridge and Bell tower, Canterbury. Work proceeded slowly and St. James' was not completed until after the dissolution of the monasteries, the abbey in Bury St. Edmunds being closed and stripped of its treasures in 1539
St. Edmund's body disappeared; the ruins in the Abbey Gardens, Abbey Gate, the West Front and the Norman Tower are all that remain.
In 1914 a new diocese of St. Edmundsbury and Ipswich was created and St. James' was named as the cathedral church.
Enlargement began in earnest in the 1960's under the guidance of architect Stephen Dykes Bower. Different phases of building in the 20th and 21st centuries have created the cathedral you see today.

The Cloisters

A painting of the abbey from the air

The  Nave

Organ pipes

The Millennium tower

The Font with one of the many amazing stained glass windows all around the cathedral. This one depicts the last judgement with Christ in the centre

Looking through the font down the Nave

Well I think it is time for tea but we will keep that for the next post 


I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

There is certainly a lot of history there. I enjoyed reading it all. The stained glass windows are beautiful as well as is all the rest too. Seeing this place where so many famous people throughout history have connected over the years is fascinating. I know you always have a good tea time so I'll be looking forward to seeing what you had to enjoy there.

Schnitzel and the Trout said...

I love learning history such as this. When I was young and in school, I simply memorized what I needed to pass my exams. Now, that I have traveled, I am loving, revisiting the long ago learned and reading such valuable information. Thank you. Susan

Vee said...

It is certainly an amazingly beautiful Abbey with a lot of intriguing history. What in the world would they steal a body for? Each part of the church is quintessential architecture. One could come right here to see fine examples!

Terri said...

Just beautiful, Barbara. Thanks for sharing.

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

It is very beautiful. I love the ceiling too. And the gardens. I know it is all even more amazing in person.

Willow said...

What a gorgeous building. I find the English abbeys to be very conducive to prayer and meditation.

Lorrie said...

Fascinating history and a beautiful cathedral. The ceiling is stunning.

Elizabeth said...

A gorgeous visit as ever.
Am in a very English mood as reading Wolf Hall. Most interesting!

Trisha said...

I am just in awe of the beauty and serenity of it all. I can imagine how footsteps might echo from the sheer height of the ceilings. The history is amazing. God Bless you for sharing your experiences, so readily.

AM Zafaran said...

Oh my! What awesome pics...I must come back and read and feast my eyes more on these pictures!
Barbara, Thank you for visiting me. You are my very first friend in blog land and I am thankful to you because if you had not given me a welcome at that time, probably I would not have continued to blog.
All my best wishes to you and your family for a fantastic 2013!

CherryPie said...

A very fine looking cathedral with an interesting history.

La Petite Gallery said...

Thank you Barbara, these shots are beautiful. I have a question, does anyone live in the Abbey? I really like reading English History. I am glued to the TV show Downton Abbey.
Such beautiful buildings.

The Flu is raging in the US.
Hope we don't get it.

Deb said...

Absolutely breathtaking photographs, thanks for sharing them.