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Visiting the 12th century Becket's Chapel, Wymondham, Norfolk, England: monks, students, coal, books and art

Updated on August 3, 2012
Flag of England
Flag of England | Source
Wymondham Library, in 2005, a former medieval chapel, near to Wymondham, Norfolk, Great Britain
Wymondham Library, in 2005, a former medieval chapel, near to Wymondham, Norfolk, Great Britain | Source
Wymondham. The library housed in Becket's Chapel, 2005
Wymondham. The library housed in Becket's Chapel, 2005 | Source
 Map location of Norfolk
Map location of Norfolk | Source

A father and son team of Medieval ecclesiastical patrons

Monks, students, coal, books and works of art are included among Leitmotive for this 12th century building in Wymondham (pronounced: 'Windham'!), Norfolk. While the subliminal links between some of these entities might be closer than some people realize, the monks in question gave it its former status as a monastery (or, maybe more accurately, a cell). In Medieval times, the chapel was used by various of the town's guilds.

Afterwards it served as a grammar school.

Then from the sublime to the prosaic. Students gave way to coal; the building was used for storage.

Later the building served as a library; it was during this use for the building that the two pictures supplied were taken. However its recent use has been as an art gallery.

But back to the monks. In the 12th century, a well connected, titled father and son team of ecclesiastical patrons hit Wymondham's built environment, so to speak. William d'Albini Senior founded in 1107. what later became Wymondham Abbey is a partly ruined structure, founded by in 1107. Another William d'Albini, the Junior of that name (c.1150-1193)(1), founded this Chapel in the town in 1174. Such relationships in Medieval times demonstrate something of the nature networks of temporal, ecclesiastical and family influences.

The murder of Thomas à Becket in Canterbury Cathedral in 1170 was still fresh in people's minds, the Chapel as well as the Abbey was dedicated to him.

The building possesses significant arching; in the 15th century, the interior of the stone building acquired arches and a hammerbeam roof. Architect Thomas Jeckyll undertook a program of renovation on the building in the late 19th century.

Becket's Chapel is located at 2 Church Street, Wymondham, in England's country of Norfolk.

July 30, 2012


(1) William d'Albini, Junior's mother was former Queen Adeliza of Louvain (c.1103-1151), who had been widowed following the death of King Henry I; she later married William d'Albini Senior (c.1109-1176), 1st Earl of Arundel.

Also worth seeing

In Wymondham itself, the Abbey (see also above) dates from the early 12th century; the Market Cross is a striking, 17th century edifice.

Norwich (distance: 15 kilometres) has numerous visitor attractions; among these are: Norwich Cathedral; Norwich Castle; Pull's Ferry; Elm Hill; Norwich Guildhall, and many others.


How to get there: United Airlines flies to London Heathrow Airport, where car rental is available. Wymondham 's rail links to London include those to Liverpool Street Station, via Cambridge. Wymondham is 206 kilometers from Heathrow Airport. Some facilities may be withdrawn, without notice. You are advised to check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

For your visit, these items may be of interest


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    • MJFenn profile image

      MJFenn 5 years ago

      Patty Kenyon: It's an interesting, historic building. Thank-you for your comment.

    • Patty Kenyon profile image

      Patty Kenyon 5 years ago from Ledyard, Connecticut

      Another Interesting Hub!!! Once again, Great Job!!!