Category abbeys

ZigZag – the finer details of cathedral architecture. #atozchallenge

The last day of the A to Z blogging challenge is here!  Congratulations to everyone who took part. I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have. I’ve had so much to read, and still to read, as I continue to explore new blogs. As for my Z? Take a look at this picture. […]


Valle Crucis Abbey. #atozchallenge

Valle Crucis means the ‘valley of the cross’. The cross refers to Eliseg’s Pillar which was erected in the 9th Century by the last king of Powys. Wales is now a principality and not a kingdom, and it’s laws of inheritance meant that when a prince dies, his land is divided amongst his sons, legitimate […]

Undercrofts – Chester Cathedral. #atozchallenge

When not looking up, it’s worth a trip down into the underbelly of a cathedral or abbey. While the soaring heights and stained glass are awe inspiring, save a little respect for the undercroft. Used in abbeys as a cellar for storage as well as a sleeping quarters for the lay brothers, the undercroft is […]

Tintern Abbey – A labour of love. #atozchallenge

“If Tintern abbey… what is it?” (say it aloud). This is a quip of the late Terry Wogan, a much loved radio broadcaster who died last year. The correct answer is “Tis an abbey” or simply, “Tis.” Tintern Abbey is more accurately a ruined abbey on the banks of the River Wye in Wales. It […]

Rievaulx Abbey – Embracing remoteness

‘Far from the haunt of men’ – this quote refers to the Cistercians, who broke away from the existing religious order of the Benedictines to found their own monasteries. They believed in a stricter interpretation of the Rules of St Benedictine and living apart from secular communities and their terrible temptations. Let’s face it, they […]

Queen’s coronation – Westminster Abbey #atozchallenge

Since the coronation of William the Conqueror in 1066, British monarchs have been crowned in Westminster Abbey, barring two: Edward V (murdered) and Edward VIII (abdicated). The throne – King Edward’s Chair – is housed in the abbey’s St George’s Chapel ready for the next coronation. But why here at Westminster? Westminster Abbey is a […]

Priories – Surviving the centuries.

In 1115 a group of Augustinian canons founded a community by the River Mersey near its only crossing, known as the Runcorn Gap. They cleared the woodland, drained the land and created a moated enclosure and water courses. The site was chosen for a new priory – Norton. (For those who missed it in a […]

Orders and rules – monastic life #atozchallenge

As I’ve been exploring the theme of abbeys and cathedrals, I can’t hope notice how many difference religious orders existed across the centuries.  Their influence on the architecture of abbeys in particular is reflected in their daily life.  So here is a run down of the key orders and something about their influence on what […]

Nave – the hub of a cathedral. #atozchallenge

Cathedrals and Abbeys. Today is all about the nave. The cruciform layout of a church is based on the points of the compass. The chancel, where the high altar is situated, points to the East and Jerusalem, which in Medieval times was the centre of the Earth. The north and south transepts were where chapels […]

Kilwinning Abbey – saints and bell towers. #atozchallenge

Winning was a successful preacher from Ireland who built a church on the banks of the River Garnock in North Ayrshire after being revealed the site by an angel in a vision. Not entirely convinced this is how it all started, but the subsequent abbey is named after him. A Kil means ‘cell’ of the […]

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