Welcome to Dorset Allsorts

We'll be posting a variety of facts and photos of whatever takes our fancy as we wander around Dorset. They may be of churches, buildings, visitor attractions or natural scenes – in fact there will be all sorts! We hope they will give you a glimpse of some of the sights this beautiful county has to offer.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Abbotsbury's Monastic Connections

St Catherine's Chapel

Little remains of Abbotsbury's former monastic greatness except for the 14th century tithe barn, 82m long and claimed to be the largest in the country, and St Catherine's Chapel  standing some 85m above the sea on a hill above the village. 

The chapel was built around the beginning of the 15th century as a pilgrim's chapel for the nearby monastry and is constructed entirely of stone that had to be hauled up the hillside from the quarries below.  It is noted for its rare stone, tunnel-vaulted roof.

After the dissolution of the monastries, the chapel was retained, probably because of its value as a landmark for sailors.

Tradition has it that, if you take a deep breath and run around the chapel without exhaling, you will dream of your future husband or wife that night!  Karen did this as a child on a school trip, but sad to say it didn't work!!

Pynion End Wall
There is little to see now of the great Benedictine abbey which was founded in the 11th century by Orc and his wife Tola, followers of King Canute.  Visitors can see a big gable end wall, called the Pynion End, dating from about 1400 and part of the abbey buildings, a gatehouse and a few houses which were converted from parts of the old abbey.

Abbotsbury's current church was built mainly in the 15th and 16th centuries next to the site of the old abbey.

Effigy of an abbot from about 1200 in the church porch

The medieval tythe barn

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