Grateful for a rain-free day, we set off across the Suffolk countryside toward the historic town of Bury St. Edmund. Our destination was the medieval abbey ruins and St. Edmundsbury Cathedral. Both of these lie side by side right within the town itself instead of being in a separate location out in the nearby countryside.
As we entered through the arch beneath the Abbey Gate seen in the photo above, we emerged into the Abbey Gardens.
Even with the winter-muted palate and bare-branched trees, the gardens are a peaceful place to walk or sit quietly on a bench.
Other than the entry gates and the beautiful old wall that formerly surrounded the compound, there is very little left of the old abbey since it was destroyed during the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539 during the reign of Henry VIII.
We meandered through the side garden, following the sign for the cathedral’s restaurant, The Refectory. Although we weren’t looking for food or drink, entering on that side of the building allowed us to walk the full length of the enclosed cloister and enjoy the austere beauty of the stone walls and floors, the vaulted stone ceilings, and the plain timber benches.
In tomorrow’s Part 2, I will have photos of the stunning interior of this cathedral. Make sure to check back!
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