Monday, May 14, 2018

Time past - Coggeshall Abbey, Essex

Glorious weather, the sun rising sharply in the East, it must be flooding the church window next door, an hallelujah to a god that doesn't exist but a sharply marked man made window to the purity of the natural world of light and the sun.  I walked down the lane yesterday, the swallows wheeling and diving in the air, the hedges have thickened with greenery practically overnight, so that I can no longer see the ponies in the field.  The constant call of the wood pigeons, soft murmurings of the collared doves, blackbirds fighting furiously - it is here, waiting round the corner, summer, the soft arising of the Earth as the sun beams its largesse down, and tractors run to and fro, serving the hard suffering land.
Yesterday when I was looking through the old photos, came across the Cistercian Coggeshall Abbey in Essex, founded from the Norman Savigny order which joined the Cistercian order in this country. The abbey was founded by King Steven but it was his wife's (Queen Maud) manor land the abbey was built on.  The sun was bright that day as well, English loveliness, in the pale purple fronds of wisteria against pink walls, a laburnum tree decorated with plumes of yellow flower, (deadly seed but very pretty) or is it a bush? in the garden of this old Abbey house.  Though what you see is a 16th century restoration when the house and lands were handed over to the brother of Jane Seymour, wife to Henry Vlll.  Rich pickings!

The great Abbey medieval barn, calling in the tithes of the surrounding farms, tells of wealth...the weight of those tiles are held up by heavy beams.

Next as you wandered down a private road you came across a chapel in the field, perfectly preserved

And then the working monastic remains, the farm where everything happened.....

Roman bricks amongst the flint work

new stable doors on old building

Modern barns as well
And perhaps my favourite photos of this place, as you rounded the corner, a mill overlooking its mill pond, its reflection caught in the clear water.


  1. They all look like secret places Thelma - especially that mill. Beautiful.

  2. Sometimes when you read about Essex it is 'all in your face' news, but there is some lovely countryside around and lots of old houses.