Tewkesbury Abbey, Gloucestershire

Benedictine Monks

The Abbey at Tewkesbury was founded in 1087 by Robert FitzHamon, but none of the current structures date to earlier than 1102. The foundation was Benedictine. It took around 20 years for the Abbey to be constructed and it was finally consecrated in 1121 when almost complete.

As time passed the Abbey became rich and dominated the lands around Tewkesbury. By the turn of the 13th Century into the 14th it was one of the richest in the west of England and it was around this time that the massively solid tower was constructed - referred by Pevsner as "the largest and finest Romanesque tower in England". Equally impressive is the great west window with its one singular massive arch.

Tewkesbury Abbey was Dissolved in the same year as the other Abbeys of the western Midlands, 1540, and like many of the others the buildings were sold off for scrap. As was the case at Pershore, the parishioners raised the funds to buy the Church, in this case £453, which was then turned into the Parish Church for the town.

Unlike Pershore, Tewkesbury seems to have survived much better with very little Victorianisation, leaving us with one of the purest 14th Century Decorated churches in England and one which still dominates the attractive town which it graces.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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