WYMONDHAM, NORFOLK

Grid Ref: TG 107 015
Date: 14 September 2012

 

Wymondham Abbey spacer Wymondham
Wymondham Abbey   Tower through ruined arch
Wymondham   Market Cross
Viewed from across the river   Market Cross

Wymondham (pronounced Windam) lies to the south west of Norwich just off the A11. It is a historic town and its most famous citizen was Robert Kett, who led a revolt of agricultural workers against land enclosure in 1549. He and his poorly armed force held the City of Norwich for six weeks until defeated by Edward VI's forces. Kett was hanged at Norwich Castle. About 300 properties were destroyed in the Great Fire of Wymondham in 1615. A new Market Cross, the one still standing, was started and completed in 1617. It is now a tourist information centre.

The most striking building in the area is Wymondham Abbey, now the parish church. It was founded as a Benedictine Abbey in 1107 by William d'Aubigny Chief Butler to Henry I. The Monastery was a daughter house of the one at St. Albans where d'Aubigny's uncle was Abbot. The monastery church was completed in about 1130 and dedicated to St. Mary but St. Thomas Becket was added following his murder at Canterbury cathedral in 1170. The founder's son then built a small chapel in the town dedicated to Becket and served by two monks. Originally the church had a central tower and two west towers. The central tower was rebuilt as an octagon in 1376 and in 1447 the west tower was begunn to replace the Norman towers that held the parishioner's bells. The nave and north aise served the parish. The abbey ceased to operate as such from 1538 as part of the Dissolution of the Monasteries. The eastern end of the church was destroyed leaving the church half its original length, and leaving the former central tower at the east end of the remaining edifice.

Sources:

Condensed from Wikipedia articles on Wymondham and Wymondham Abbey

 

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