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TEWKESBURY ABBEY

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Benedictine Abbey and Church of St Mary's Abbey. Founded in 1102 the church was consecrated 1121, the tower was added in the second quarter of the 12th century and serious fire damage occured in 1178. Additions and alterations were carried out to the north transept in the early 13th century and were modified in the late 13th century. The east arm of the abbey was extensively rebuilt in the early 14th century and the stone vaulting was completed by the mid 14th century. The east Lady Chapel and the monastic buildings were removed circa 1540 following the dissolution of the monasteries and the Abbey Church became a parish church. The west window was rebuilt in 1686 and various parapets and other details added. A major restoration under Sir Gilbert Scott and Sons took place between 1875 and 1879. The galleries at the crossing were removed in 1909. Mainly constructed of limestone ashlar with some early work in coursed lias with roofs of tile and lead. The church consists of an 8-bay aisless nave and north porch, unaisled transepts with east chapels, a central crossing tower, a choir and presbytery to a 3-sided apse, with ambulatory and radial chapels. There was a detached belfry to the north until it was demolished in 1817. The north nave contains stained glass by Hardman, inserted in 1896. This abbey may be on the site of the monastery, possibly Benedictine, founded in circa 715 and destroyed in the 9th century and refounded as a cell of Cranborne Abbey circa 980. In 1102 the abbey became independent of Cranborne, and Cranborne became a dependency of Tewkesbury.Dependencies: Bristol, Cardiff, Cranborne, Deerhurst, Goldcliff, Llantwit-Major, and an almshouse in Tewkesbury.

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