Things To See and Do
Explore the Rooms
Dating from late medieval times, this room would have been where important guests were entertained. Originally having two impressive stained glass windows, elaborate fireplace with mouldings, you can still see a large 19th century wooden settle with panelling restored from medieval furniture.
Enter using the 16th century Great Stairs, but look out for the partially blocked wall with food hatches dating from when it was once a servery space.
The Cloister Walk
Preserved within the abbot's lodging, a 16th century walk still exists as part of the original cloister range. Today you can see a display of stonework including the feet of a statue of Christ. In the panelled wall you can see a doorway, a cupboard where the monks cutlery was stored and a laver where the monks washed their hands before eating.
Discover the Ruins
Visitors can explore the foundations of the abbey buildings levelled in 1538 including the Abbey Church, remains of an Anglo Saxon Church, Presbytery, Lady Chapel and Cloister Range. Tracing the stone ruins, you can get a sense of the size of the abbey throughout the centuries. An impressive collection of buildings, it would have been a striking sight standing above the marshy Levels, visible from afar.
The Interior Rooms
Built in the 14th century, the kitchens were originally one room with a high pitched roof. Remodelled to fit a pair of back to back fireplaces in the 15th century, they still give an sense of daily life at the time. The Cheese Room with its fine interior, coffered ceiling and beautiful fireplace now houses an exhibition of stonework.
Upstairs are other rooms which would have been used by the Abbot and as you explore you can see evidence of their previous occupation.
The Ante Chamber
Now home to the shop, the 15th century antechamber to the refectory was used in winter by the monks as a dining room. As well as beautiful stained glass windows, there are three doorways, two of which originally lead to the kitchens and a medieval one moved there in the 17th century. The corner cupboard from the 17th century was inserted when the building served as a farmhouse.
In a plain two storey outbuilding beside the abbey is a rare surviving example of a monastic latrine. Known as a reredorter, you can look down from the upper floor to see the open arches and sewer channel below. Once only accessible from the adjacent dormitory, you can still see the fixings for the bench of latrines and the partitions between each seat for privacy.
Carvings and Stonework
Head upstairs in the Abbey to find a room with a charming barrel roof ornamented with panels and foliage bosses. On the wall, between the windows, you can see traces of a 16th century painted scheme intended to imitate wall hangings with vertical bands of foliage including pomegranates, bands of chevrons and ermine fur.
There are also examples of painted tiles and stone carvings around the building as well as on display for you to see.