I am in England now and with that comes a whole new world of wondrous places to visit and discover. I have the time and opportunity now to see more than I have in the past few years so I am more determined than ever to hunt down new places. There are of course those at the top of my list like York Minster, Durham Cathedral, Lincoln etc however there are also many abbeys, churches and castles I have never heard of and I am enjoying discovering each one.
One of my latest visits was to Romsey Abbey in Romsey, England which is quite close to Winchester. I have been following a blog on Tumblr, Church Crawler and this abbey had popped up on my dash a few days back. Given it's just an hour-ish drive away, it seemed like the perfect destination for a Saturday adventure. Much like Spain, England is jam packed with awesome hidden gems and I am determined to visit them all.
A lil' bit o' history:
Though I could go into great detail about the abbey's history, I will just share some tidbits. However, I do encourage you to dig a little deeper yourself. Romsey Abbey was originally built in the 10th century however it suffered a Viking attack towards the end of the century and the original structure was burnt to the ground. It was later rebuilt in stone around the year 1000. This astounding structure is a time capsule of architecture starting from its Anglo-Saxon origins then significant additions during Norman times in the mid 12th century. You can feel this historical vibes as soon as you walk in. You all know what I am talking about here. It's an addictive feeling.
Oogle at this beaut:
The abbey is in phenomenal condition and you are warmly welcomed by friendly staff upon arrival. Let's take a quick visual tour shall we:
All part of this abbey are in pristine shape. It's location allows you to visit peacefully and soak up its magnificence at your own pace. As long as you are respectful you can get very close to observe the medieval parts in great detail. It was a remarkable experience to stand just inches from a 10th century Saxon Rood (cross). Did I want to touch it? Of course, I always want to touch these things to have the special connection but I held back. Being able to observe so closely was more than I expected. Though I spent 5 whole minutes telling myself not to touch it.
The brochure provided at the abbey was interesting as not only did it provide historical information about the building but did a great job of tying in the religious aspects to create a more spiritual experience. I am not personally a very religious person however I did appreciate this detail. As the brochure mentions, it is amazing to think of how many people have passed through this abbey over the last 1000 years and for what reasons.
After spending a significant time drooling inside, I took a walk around the entire abbey. Another quirk I love about Europe and old buildings are my size doors. I am 5'1" (yes, Hobbit-esque) so anytime I find a door just my size I have to document it. So I leave you with this little door and me being way to excited about standing in it.