Tewkesbury Abbey was one of the largest churches to survive the dissolution of the monasteries and despite its impressive size still serves as a parish church. It is also a centre for traditional ‘High Anglican’ worship. The Abbey was founded by nobleman Robert Fitzhamon in 1087. Fitzhamon was the first feudal baron of Gloucester and the Norman conqueror of Glamorgan in South Wales. In 1075 he became Lord of Glamorgan.
Building of the abbey, as we know it today, did not start until 1102 and was near to completion in 1121 when it was finally consecrated becoming a place of worship and home to the Benedictine monks.
Over the centuries many changes have been made to the building and during the 14th century the long nave roof and apsidal chancel were changed to reflect the decorative style of the period. After 1540 and the dissolution of the monasteries the claustral buildings and the Lady Chapel were destroyed and the stone and other materials were sent for further reuse. The building was then sold to its parishioners for the sum of £453.
Tewkesbury Abbey is the second largest parish church in England and is believed to have the largest Romanesque crossing tower in Europe.
It has been at the centre of many battles and after the ‘Battle of Tewksbury’ in 1471, at the time of the Wars of the Roses, the forces loyal to the House of Lancaster were completely defeated by those of their rival the House of York. Fleeing, some of the Lancastrians sought sanctuary inside the abbey. Pursuing them the jubilant Yorkists, led by King Edward IV, forced their way in and a bloody battle played out.
An act of sacrilege had fallen upon the abbey and the building was closed for a month to be purified and blessed making it fit again as a holy place of God.
Tewkesbury Abbey is visited by thousands of people every year from all over the world. The abbey welcomes people from all denominations whether they are visiting to take comfort in prayer or to see the beautiful architecture of the building and its wonderful interior.
Visitors are free to walk around but at certain times some restrictions might apply and photography is not permitted inside. The abbey does provide tours for larger parties and these can be booked in advance. Upkeep of this magnificent and majestic building is extremely costly and visitors are asked to make a charitable donation to the funds.
The area around the abbey contains many interesting old buildings with many old timbered houses and inns. It is an area that is vulnerable to flooding.
Camping and Caravanning Club Site
Brooklands Farm, B4077 (Rd), Alderton, Nr Tewkesbury
Gloucestershire, England, GL20 8NX
+44 (0)1242 620 259
- Address: Church Street, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, England, United Kingdom, GL20 5RZ
- GPS: 51.99104639999999,-2.161130500000013
- Phone: 0044 (0)1684 850 959
- Part of UK: England
- Sat Nav Postcode: GL20 5RZ
- Entrance Fees: Free access (Donations welcome)
- Disabled Access: Good
- Visibility from Road: Good
- Image Credits: Stocker 1970