Barking Abbey was the earliest Benedictine Monastery in England. Not very much remains of it today as it was fairly thoroughly destroyed during the Dissolution of the Monasteries. In recent years a small park has been set out next to today's Barking Parish Church showing the foundations of the Abbey. In the background of the photo can be seen the Curfew Tower, a much adapted gatehouse to the Abbey and the only sizable piece of medieval masonry left.
The Abbey was founded in 666 AD and was refounded after being sacked by Vikings in 965 by St. Dunstan. For a brief while in 1066 the Abbey was the seat of Royal power when William I ruled from here before he moved his powerbase to London.
Barking is one of those parts of Essex which merge seamlessly with the East End of London and is not the most obvious destination for tourists, but if you do find yourself there it is worth having a quick look at what was once one of the most important Monasteries in the South East.
Photo - Andrew J. Müller
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