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CIRENCESTER ABBEY

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The site of an Augustinian Abbey founded in 1131 and dissolved by King Henry VIII in 1539. It was built on the site of an Anglo-Saxon minster founded in the reign of Ecgbert, (802-39), and used subsequently a secular college. At the Dissolution it was strictly enjoined that all the abbey buildings should be pulled down. Excavations on the site of Abbey House (SP 02320218) commenced in 1964 and revealed that the site previously thought to have been the site of the abbey church, in fact occupied the site of the conventual buildings. The foundations of the church were found to the south east (centred SP02380216), with the chapter-house, dormitory, eastern ambulatory of the cloisters and eastern end of the north range extending to the north. In 1965 the Anglo-Saxon church was discovered beneath the 12th century building, extending from the centre of the abbey nave to a point 80ft beyond its west front, at an overall length of 175ft. The abbey buildings, chapter house, dormitory and cloisters are visible as cropmarks on aerial photographs, along with the trenches from the excavations in the 1960s. A number of walls are defined, largely in rectilinear shapes, and a pair of curving walls defining the chapter house can also be seen.

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