Much-loved Broad’s landmark set to mark its millennium

PUBLISHED: 15:29 30 August 2018 | UPDATED: 15:30 30 August 2018

St Benets Abbey is nearly 1,000 years old 

Picture: James Bass

St Benets Abbey is nearly 1,000 years old Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk © 2014

One of Norfolk’s most iconic Broads’ icons can celebrate its landmark birthday in style thanks to a lottery grant.

An elevated photo of St. Benet's Abbey, alongside the Rive Bure, The Broads, Norfolk. An elevated photo of St. Benet's Abbey, alongside the Rive Bure, The Broads, Norfolk.

The much-painted St Benet’s Abbey on the scenic River Bure is looking ahead to its 1,000 year anniversary marking a millennium since it was founded by King Canute in 1019.

A successful lottery bid for £26,000 means The Friends of St Benet’s Abbey can go ahead with all they have planned under the banner St Benet’s Abbey: 1000 Years!

Welcoming the award Trish Fitzmaurice said: “We are thrilled to have received this support thanks to National Lottery players and are confident the project will bring the stories of St Benet’s Abbey alive and fire up people’s enthusiasm so they get involved in enjoying and sharing our history in future years.” As part of the anniversary celebration a community play first performed in 1907 will be enhanced and developed to create a modern performance involving stories and people from the villages.

Life-size willow sculptures, visible from the river, will be created by local groups and installed at the abbey site and a history discovery day of talks and walks is also planned.

Meanwhile an exhibition focussing on the abbey and its associated churches will display photographs from the Two Rivers Artists and include the work of local schoolchildren.

The aim, say the Friends, is to generate greater enthusiasm for the much-loved landmark, which is owned and managed by the Norfolk Archaeological Trust, and attract more enthusiasts to become involved in cherishing and conserving the site.

The abbey was founded on a small raised area in the marshy landscape.

Following his conversion to Christianity, King Canute gifted the land for the establishment of an abbey on the site in 1019, and granted it an income from 26 associated churches.

A huge flint and stone church was built and a thriving Benedictine monastery became established, with such power and influence that it caused a change in the course of rivers and encouraged peat-digging which led to the creation of the Broads.

In the early 1700s a mill was built in the gatehouse ruin creating what has become a chocolate box image.

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