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Bermondsey Abbey Ruins

Restoration of Bermondsey Abbey Ruins.

Bermondsey Abbey was founded in 1089 by Burgundy's Cluniac Order. It was the only Cluniac house in Surrey, the nearest major house of the Order being in Lewes in Sussex. The two nearest houses were Augustinian, St Mary Overie in Southwark (founded 1106) and St Mary Merton, Surrey (founded on its final site c 1117). The first colony of Monks arrived at Bermondsey in 1089 (source: MOLA Monograph 50, 2011).

The Abbey developed over several hundred years to become one of the largest and richest in London, despite its position on marshy land, regularly flooded by the Thames. It changed from a Cluniac to a Benedictine house in the 14th century, at which point it was roughly the size of Westminster Abbey. After the suppression of the monasteries by Henry VIII, the abbey was sold and most of its buildings broken up. In 1822, 'a solitary fragment or two of stone wall' were still visible. The site was excavated in the 1950s, and more extensively in the 1980s and between 2005 and 2006. A small section of the Abbey's church was preserved under glass by the developers of the new Bermondsey Square, and is currently inside a Turkish restaurant.

The project will involve the removal & disposal of all the glass floor panels, retaining the steel structure, followed by cleaning, repair and recording of the condition of the ruins. The electrics will be inspected and replaced, new lighting and moisture recorders added, and new high quality strengthened glass panels inserted and sealed into the original structure. An access hatch will allow maintenance from the restaurant.

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