St Benet's Abbey
St Benet's, according to abbey tradition, was founded on the site of a ninth-century monastery where the hermit Suneman was martyred by the Danes. About the end of the tenth century it was rebuilt by one Wulfric. A generation later, c. 1022, its estates of Horning, Ludham and Neatishead were confirmed by King Canute. Other early benefactors included Edith Swannesha, concubine to Harold II, and Earl Ralf II of East Anglia. In 1065 the abbey established a cell at Rumburgh Priory in Suffolk.
At the time of the Norman Conquest Harold Godwinson put the abbot of St Benet's, Aelfwold, in charge of defending the coast against invasion. After the Conquest, Aelfwold fled to Denmark, and the abbey's estates suffered encroachments by neighbouring landowners. The site was enclosed by a wall with battlements in 1327.
St Benet's is the only religious house not closed down by Henry VIII during the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Instead he united the Abbacy with the bishopric of Norwich and therefore the Bishops of Norwich have remained abbots of St Benet's to this day. The Bishop of Norwich, as Abbot, arrives once a year, standing in the bow of a wherry and preaches at the annual service on the first Sunday of August.
After the Dissolution the majority of the buildings at the site were demolished, with the exclusion of the gatehouse, which is now a grade I listed building. In the second half of the eighteenth century, a farmer built a windmill, later converted to a windpump, inside the abbey gatehouse, removing the second floor of the gatehouse in the process. The windmill, which ceased operating approximately a century later and is itself now a ruin, is a grade II* listed building. On 2 August 1987 a cross made from oak from the Royal Estate at Sandringham was erected on the High Altar.
The years listed are election dates
|1046||Thurstan de Ludham|
|1237||Robert de Thorkeseye|
|1251||William de Ringfeld|
|1256||Adam de Neatishead|
|1268||Richard de Bukenham|
|1275||Nicholas de Walsham|
|1302||Henry de Broke|
|1326||John de Aylsham|
|1347||Robert de Aylsham|
|1349||William de Hadesco|
|1365||William de Methelwold|
|1395||Robert de Sancta Fide|
|1395||Simon de Brigham|
|1411||Richard de South Walsham|
|1517||John Salcot, alias Capon|
- Ordnance Survey (2005). OS Explorer Map OL40 - The Broads. ISBN 0-319-23769-9.
- Page.W (1975) 'Houses of Benedictine monks: Priory of Rumburgh', A History of the County of Suffolk: Volume 2, pp. 77-79 (available online). Retrieved 2011-05-02.
- "Name: GATEHOUSE TO ST BENETS ABBEY List entry Number: 1171673". English Heritage. Retrieved 5 March 2014.
- "Name: ST BENETS LEVEL WINDPUMP AT TG 39941564 List entry Number: 1171700". English Heritage. Retrieved 5 March 2014.
- "Partly from The Abbey of St Benet at Holme". A History of the County of Norfolk vol. 2. London, England. 1906..
- Johannes de Oxenedes (1859) [c. 1293]. Sir Henry Ellis, ed. Chronica Johannis de Oxenedes. London, England: Longman.
- Stenton, F.M. (1922). "St. Benet of Holme and the Norman Conquest". In G. Clark. English Historical Review vol. XXXVII. London, England: Longmans.
- David Knowles; J. St. Joseph (1952). Monastic Sites from the Air. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. pp. 24–25.
- Licence, T. (2004). Suneman and Wulfric: two forgotten saints of St Benedict's abbey at Holme in Norfolk. Analecta Bollandiana 122 [journal of hagiography]. pp. 361–72.
- Stephen Cooper, The Real Falstaff, Sir John Fastolf and the Hundred Years war, (Pen & Sword, 2010)
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