St Benet's Abbey 12
Photographer: Payne Jennings, John (1843-1926)
Medium: Photographic print
“St. Benet’s Abbey. – The Abbey of St. Benet-et-Holme was built in the year 1020 by order of King Canute, on the site of a Hermitage which had been destroyed some time previously by the Danes, who massacred the brethren in cold blood. The Abbey was in the occupancy of the Benedictine or Black Monks as they were called (from the colour of their dresses), and it is alleged that they, with the help of the surrounding peasantry offered a stubborn resistance to the forces of the Conqueror who were sent to bring them to submission. St. Benet’s Church was a large cruciform building with a lofty tower, surmounted by a spire or fleche rising at the juncture of the nave and choir. In the adjacent ground were buried many notabilities of the day, among others Sir John Fastolfe, whose castle at Caistor still stands, a relic of feudal England. The Abbey walls may still be traced in places, they embraced an area of 38 acres. The body of a brick windmill built about 1740 still rears its huge bulk through and above the fine Gothic gateway.”
Letterpress description by Ernest R. Suffling accompanying Plate XXIII from ‘Sun Pictures of the Norfolk Broads’.