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Modern Britain

Gallery: Churches of Hampshire

by Peter Kessler, 20 March 2011

Test Valley Part 1: Churches of Romsey

Romsey Abbey

Romsey Abbey is sandwiched between Church Street and Church Lane at the western end of the town of Romsey in Hampshire's Test Valley district. The Abbey Church of St Mary and St Ethelflaeda can trace its origins back to 907, the year in which the West Saxon King Edward the Elder, son of Alfred the Great, first settled some nuns here under the charge of his daughter, Elflaeda. King Edgar refounded the nunnery about 960 under the rule of St Benedict.

Inside Romsey Abbey

The first stone church and nunnery were built about AD 1000 and flourished as a place of education for young nobles. Work began on the present building around 1120-1180. In 1349, the Black Death cut the number of nuns. Within the half-empty premises, a second aisle was added to the north side for St Laurence's Church, for the townspeople. They gained the entire building in 1544, following the Dissolution, which probably saved the building from destruction.

All photos kindly contributed by Michelle Sweed.

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