Thorney TF 28 04
Cambridgeshire 35 miles NW of Cambridge on A47 E of Peterborough
In use Contact - none known

Click here to view larger - St B Thorney 2002.jpg

Thorney Abbey was originally built on this Fenland isle in about 662 AD, sacked by the Danes in 870, rebuilt about 972 and then sacked by the Normans fighting Hereward and rebuilt by them 1089 1108 on a grander scale. The church is dedicated to St Mary and St Botolph. The Benedictine Abbey was extended and added to but eventually dissolved in 1539. Much of the structure was demolished and much stone removed to build other places such as Trinity College Cambridge. In 1574, there was no roof although the body of the church and half the steeple was still standing. From 1638 the 4th Earl of Bedford began to restore the abbey, walling the bays between the arches to form new north and south walls and rebuilding the roof. The west front has two tall 12th century towers surmounted by 15th century octagonal turrets and with a deeply recessed 15th century doorway between them and a 17th century window above. Over the window is a stone screen extending from turret ot turret with nine canopied niches containing medieval statues. From 1839 Edward Bloore (the architect who designed the Mall block of Buckingham Palace) constructed the east end in Norman style and, in 1888, the galleries were removed and the organ loft and present pews added. The east window is a particularly impressive example of stained glass from 1840 a design taken from Trinity Chapel at Canterbury Cathedral. The images show the miracles of St Thomas Becket in 21 compartments (in a different order from the originals). The organ originated in 1790 with several subsequent re-buildings
Copyright Peter Buttle 3 January 2002

Updated 23 January 2002

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