What did the Abbey of St Edmund look like 1,000 years ago?

Reconstruction image

New interpretation images have revealed what Bury St Edmunds Abbey might have looked like when it was founded 1,000 years ago. - Credit: English Heritage

New interpretation images have revealed what Bury St Edmunds Abbey might have looked like when it was founded 1,000 years ago.

A year-long digital reconstruction project from English Heritage has revealed the fascinating past of the Abbey of St Edmund through a series of panels on-site.

One of the reconstruction panels on-site

A year-long digital reconstruction project from English Heritage has revealed the fascinating past of the Abbey of St Edmund through a series of panels on-site. - Credit: English Heritage

While the current remains of the Abbey are extensive, they do little justice to what was once of the largest and grandest monasteries in England.

Thirteen new panels across the site bring the fascinating history of the Abbey to life, allowing visitors to compare the digital reconstructions to their real-life building counterparts.

Reconstrucion image

Thirteen new panels across the site bring the fascinating history of the Abbey to life, allowing visitors to compare the digital reconstructions to their real-life building counterparts. - Credit: English Heritage

The striking new artwork re-imagines the abbey in its heyday, depicting the size and grandeur of the site.

A 3D model of the site has also been refurbished and restored by the original model-maker Nigel Purdy.

The entire site was surveyed in early 2021 and a large collection of stonework from the Abbey was analysed.

Most Read

This information enabled the English Heritage team to create the initial detailed sketches of the lost abbey which were then developed into the 3D digital model.

One of the reconstruction panels on-site

The entire site was surveyed in early 2021 and a large collection of stonework from the Abbey was analysed. - Credit: English Heritage

Finally, a layer of historical detail was added to the artwork which can be viewed by visitors at the Abbey itself.

Reverend Canon Matthew Vernon, chairman of the Abbey of St Edmund Heritage Partnership, said: "The positive reaction to the new interpretation panels from members of the public was obvious as soon as they had been installed."

Cabinet member for leisure and culture at West Suffolk Council Councillor Jo Raynor added: "In this year in which we celebrate 1,000 years since the Abbey of St Edmund was founded, it is great to see this project which will help widen people's understanding of how it once looked and how various areas were once used."

One of the reconstruction panels on-site

The project was supported by the Abbey of St Edmund Heritage Partnership with a grant from Bury St Edmunds Town Council. - Credit: English Heritage

The project was supported by the Abbey of St Edmund Heritage Partnership with a grant from Bury St Edmunds Town Council.

The panels were officially unveiled at the Picnic in the Park event on Saturday, July 16 which brought the community together to celebrate 1,000 years of the Abbey.