Cirencester Abbey Vanished Buildings

The Augustinian Abbey of Saint Mary in Cirencester plays a major role in Templar’s Prophecy, the fourth book in my Lady Apollonia West Country Mystery Series.  Indeed, the abbey played a major role in Cirencester for over 400 years until the Dissolution of the Monasteries by King Henry VIII in the 16th century.  The monastery, as it appears in my story set in 1395, was built in the 12th century, included the church and cloister, dormitory, refectory, kitchen, infirmary, cellarium, and library.

None of these buildings exists today.  The monastic grounds are a great open expanse of grass forming a town park.  There are flat stones which outline where the abbey church was located as shown in the picture above.  A block of flats, also shown in the picture above, now sits to the northwest of where the church was located, but most of the area where monastic buildings once stood is now parkland.

Today a bandstand and small children’s playground are in the parkland which also features a couple of small brooks and the abbey fishpond.  The flowing brooks are a reminder that the abbey once controlled the milling in town. 

Tension between the abbey and the town was so severe that the townspeople welcomed the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539.  Demolition of the abbey church began immediately, and townspeople eagerly used the stone monastic buildings as a quarry.  Some of the stones that were reused can be seen in present-day buildings of the town.

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