Muchelney Abbey, Nr Langport (Somerset)
A complete early Tudor house in miniature stands beside the foundations of a medieval Benedictine abbey.
Places to stay near here
- 13th century buildings (or older)
- 14th century buildings
- No smoking
- Gift shop
- Information provided
- Historic Property
- Free car parking (on site)
Food and Drinks
Muchelney, the atmospheric and once-remote 'great island' amid the Somerset Levels, has many rewards for visitors. Beside the clearly laid out foundations of the wealthy medieval Benedictine abbey (and its Anglo-Saxon predecessor) stands a complete early Tudor house in miniature.Originally the abbots' lodgings, this charming building includes a magnificent great chamber with ornate fireplace, carved settle and stained glass; two rooms with time-faded walls painted to resemble cloth hangings; and a pair of kitchens with fine timber roof. Parts of the richly decorated cloister walk and refectory are incorporated, and nearby is the thatched two-storey monks' lavatory, unique in Britain.
Exhibitions illustrate monastic life with a fascinating collection of site finds, including decorated tiles and stonework. Much improved facilities for disabled visitors include a touch-screen tour of less accessible areas.
History to the present day
Muchelney Abbey, stands in a quaint little village on the Somerset Level's. The former abbot's house is the only significant structure remaining of the former Benedictine monastery. It is believed that a religious house was located here as early as 693, however the Benedictines were not established at Muchelney Abbey until the mid 10th century.
The remains of the abbey church today amount to only a few foundation walls, although all the evidence suggestst that it was once a magnificent building. All that remains from the 12th century is the south cloister walk, and the north wall of the refectory. The abbot's house, dates mainly from the early 16th century and is a pleasing combination of practicality and monastic beauty.
Much decorative work remains in the south cloister, such as arcading and traces of the elaborate fan-vaulting, which is commonly thought to have been influenced by Gloucester Cathedral. Medieval floor tiles that survived from the Lady Chapel have been relaid in the small parish church of St Peter and St Paul, which stands only 3ft (90cm) from the former location of the north transept of the monastic church. The evidence suggest that there has been a church on this site since Saxon times, however the present church was only completed in the early 1400s.
Within the village, other places of interest include The Priests House - in the care of The National Trust - and The Almonry Barn.
Arrival information and how to find us
Address: Muchelney Abbey, Somerset, , United Kingdom
Opening Times: 2011
1 Apr-30 Jun 10am-5pm daily
1 Jul-31 Aug 10am-6pm daily
1-30 Sept 10am-5pm daily
1-31 Oct 10am-4pm daily
1 Nov-31 Mar Closed
Admission Prices: 2011
All Photographs copyright of the English Heritage Photographic Library