Site evaluation and interpretive planning of St Benet's Abbey.
The Abbey of St Benet's at Holme lies deep in the Broadland of East Norfolk, close to the meeting place of the rivers Bure and Ant. This was the only Norfolk monastery founded in the Anglo-Saxon period which continued in use throughout the Middle Ages – the only comparable ones in East Anglia were the royal abbeys at Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk and Ely in Cambridgeshire. However St Benet’s, unlike Bury and Ely, was largely abandoned after the closure of the monastery in the 1530s, because of its inaccessible location.
The buildings have been thoroughly demolished except for the gatehouse and the wind pump later built onto it. The surviving ruins and earthwork remains are very interesting indeed, however. Visitors can see how the site was laid out, while much important evidence remains below the ground. The Trust bought the main part of the site from the Crown Estate in 2002, and the gatehouse and mill from the Diocese of Norwich in 2004.
As well as being of great historical interest, St Benet's is also very atmospheric. Standing in the depths of Broadland, away from roads and other settlements, it is a wonderful place to spend time surrounded by the wide open skies and away from the modern world. For over 200 years it has been a favourite spot for artists and photographers.