Norfolk Tourist Information
Norfolk Tourist Information
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    Norfolk Tourist Information / Historical / Cathedrals & Churches

    St. Benet's Abbey
    St. Benet's Hulme or St. Bene't-at-Holme was founded by King Canute and built like a castle. William the Conqueror had his problems with taking it and bribed one of the monks to open the great gate on condition of being made the new abbott. Once inside, the Normans payed him back for his service as a traitor, dressed him up in alb, cope and mitre and strung him up over the gate.

    The Bishop of Norwich makes an annual visitation to the Abbey ruins on August Bank Holiday and conducts an open-air service.

    St Benet's Abbey was founded in the 9th Century by the hermit Suneman. In the 10th Century Wolfric built a cell on the sight of Suneman's chapel and under King Canute the cell grew into the Monastery of St Benet-at-Holm. The Abbey was the only monastery in Britain not included in the dissolution. The Bishop still retains the title of Abbot of St.Benets.

    About two miles south-west of Ludham on the banks of the river Bure is St. Benet's Abbey, founded on land granted by King Canute in 1020. At one time the Abbey was one of the wealthiest Benedictine houeses in the country and was at the height of it's prosperity in the middle ages. However it declined before the reformation. None of the ruins date from and early period and the best preserved is the gate house. The reason being that in the 18th century a brick windmill was built inside the ruins. The top of the mill is now missing due to the fact it was blown off in a gale in 1863.

    The Abbey has featured in many a painting, one notable example being that of local artist John Sell Cotman

    Legend has it that the ghost of the monk who treacherously granted access to William the Conqueror can be seen hanging from the former bell tower on each night of the 25th May. Late at night terrible screamy may be heard and a monk may be seen writhing in agony at the end of a beam above the ruined arch.

    The Abbey can be visited all year round free of charge. The land is private so please do not abuse this access.

    Contact Details
    AddressSt. Benet's Abbey is 2 miles south-west of Ludham on the banks of the river Bure
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