Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Shrewsbury Abbey

The Abbey of St Peter and St Paul a.k.a. Shrewsbury Abbey dates from just after the Norman conquest being founded in 1083 as a Benedictine monastery. The abbey became the site for a major shrine for St Winifred when relics were taken there in the 12th century making the abbey a site of pilgrimage. The abbey was greatly modified and expanded up to the 14th century but fell into decline during the Reformation when it had become a parish church after the dissolution of the monasteries (with some parts of the site pulled down or reused for other purposes).

Further elements of the original church were lost the following centuries including when the A5 was built through the abbey grounds and the church fell into disrepair. Major restoration projects took place in the 19th century and in the early 20th century there was a move to have the abbey become a cathedral though this was narrowly defeated by a vote in parliament. This was the second time the abbey had been mooted to become a cathedral in fact, Henry VIII had also considered it.

Despite the abbey's turbulent history a fair amount of the original Norman building remains especially on the eastern side of the nave.

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