Between 1536-1540 (depending on which brochure I read) King Henry VIII declared the Dissolution of the Monasteries during the Protestant Reformation and his break from the Catholic Church. Armies scoured the country— leaving most monasteries in ruin as soldiers took the lead to make cannon balls. Jane and I visited four very different abbeys that had existed at that time and earlier.
Malmesbury, believed to be the oldest inhabited town in England, has a 12th Century abbey. The original spire and tower both collapsed well before the Reformation. Only the nave remained and became part of the active Abbey as part of the Reformation. It is believed that the first King of England is buried nearby while his coffin resides inside the church.
Tewkesbury Abbey survived the dissolution of the monasteries in 1540 when the townspeople bought it from King Henry VIII for the sum of 453 pounds. Although the original church was consecrated in 1121, the current Abbey is 900 years old. It is considered one of the largest parish churches in England.
Tintern Abbey, on the border of Wales and Gloucestershire, captivated me! The Cistercian Abbey was founded in 1131 and was a religious center between 1136-1536 at which time it was surrendered to the King’s “marauding visitors.” The lead was taken and 400 years of decay began. There was partial reconstruction begun in 1914. The CADW (a part of the Welsh government dedicated to preserving historic environmental and heritage sites) took over in 1984.
The following photos reflect the beauty of the area surrounding the ruins and the stunning views within the ruins.
I have to admit that I was most fascinated by the stories of the filming of Harry Potter in the cathedral! We walked the halls used in several scenes. I watched the movies on my return so that I could compare Hogwarts School scenes with what I saw.
Downton Abbey to Harry Potter… and all the marvelous sites in between. It was quite the photographic adventure! This is my last blog on the Cotswolds. Thanks so much for joining me on the tour. —Peggy