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Bury St Edmunds 13.e.2

Bury St Edmunds 13.e.2

Artist: Godfrey, R.

Medium: Ink wash on paper

Date: 1779

Shelfmark: K.Top. Vol. 39

Item number: 13.e.2

Length: 32.9

Width: 42

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Topographical Drawing

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The Abbey of St Edmundsbury was one of the wealthiest and most influential Benedictine Abbeys in England. The presence of Benedictine monks is known to date back to the 11th century. It held the relics of St Edmund. The Abbey Church was huge- at 505 ft long and a west front 246ft in width, it superseded many other English Cathedral churches. The west front was built in c.1140. The abbey church was damaged a number of times, by riots and fire. By the eighteenth century, as can be seen in the print, the Abbey Church had fallen into ruin. Daniel Defoe, writing in the early 18th century, noted that 'The abbey is demolish'd; its ruins are all that is to be seen of its glory'. In the print, the west front wall appears to have been partially buried and some town houses have been built into the medieval wall.

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