Muchelney Abbey, Somerset

Benedictine Monks

Once the second largest Somerset Abbey, Muchelney today has much less surviving than Glastonbury, it’s larger neighbour.

It was believed to have been founded on an island in the Somerset marshes around 693. The Benedictines did not arrive until the 10th Century and by the time of the Domesday Book the Abbey was well established.

Much of the surviving buildings date to the 12th Century, although traces of Saxon structures can be found in Muchelney Parish Church which is mostly 15th Century and built by the Monks.

In 1538 the Abbey surrendered peacefully to the Dissolution and the land was granted to Edward Seymour who later became first Duke of Somerset. He was executed in 1552 and the Abbey Estates reverted to the Crown.

The main surviving sections of the Abbey today are the Parish Church, parts of the cloisters and refectory and the Abbot’s House which is the largest building to have survived. The foundations of much of the remainder can be traced and are laid out in the grounds of the Abbot’s House. Close by is the unique thatched lavatory building dating to the 12th Century.

The Abbey is owned by English Heritage.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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