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St Benet's Abbey

Listed under Paranormal in East Anglia, United Kingdom.

  • Photo of St Benet's Abbey
  • Photo of St Benet's Abbey
  • Photo of St Benet's Abbey
  • Photo of St Benet's Abbey
  • Photo of St Benet's Abbey
  • Photo of St Benet's Abbey
Photo of St Benet's Abbey
Photo by johnblythe
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The Abbey of St Benets lies on a sand and gravel island called Cow Holm surrounded by grazing marshes beside the River Bure. In the Middle Ages it was approached by land along a broad causeway from Horning to the north west and by river along the Bure. It is quite likely that the causeway was only usable during the summer.

The place has an over-riding sense, even today, of extreme isolation, and no doubt before the marshes were drained in the eighteenth century it was often a true island.

During the 1530s the brothers of St Benet's Abbey undertook the work of restoring the rood screen of the Church of St Helens at Ranworth. The task was entrusted to Brother Pacificus who, in the early morning would row a small boat, with his dog in the prow, across from the Abbey to the Church and return in the late evening by the same route.

One evening upon his return to the Abbey, Brother Pacificus discovered to his horror that his brother monks had all been murdered. A broken man, he lived like a hermit for a while in the Abbey and when he died the locals buried him in the churchyard at St Helens. Sometimes of a morning when the mist is just rising, or on a quiet summers evening, a ghostly figure in a habit can still be seen, with a small dog standing in the prow of a boat; rowing across Ranworth broad back to the Abbey.

The ghost of the traitorous monk, who opened the Abbey gates to let in the Kings troops, is said to still haunt this old Abbey. The Abbey itself is said; on a summers evening, to revert back to it's former glory with torches lighting the early evening and the sound of chanting drifting on the still air of the broads at sunset.

If you’re on that part of the broads at sunset moor next to the ruin and wait, quietly.

Will the Abbey change? Will the faithful Brother Pacificus appear?

Or will the screams of a traitorous monk, nailed to the gates of the Abbey he betrayed and skinned alive by the troops he let in; echo across the still dark waters as the night closes in?

Written by  John Blythe.

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

Question ?

I have a what I think is a sketch or pencil drawing of the St Benets Abbey dated 1846 name on the photo is BROWN. Does anyone have info?

Also I have a photo of Norfork Wherry by same name with 76 in the photo.

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