The first episode of Edward’s continuing adventures was released today. Really nice to see Edward back in the saddle (so to speak), and to hear from readers and friends again. For those of you that bought Nostrum, I hope you find it as enjoyable to read as I did to write.
I thought I would post a few images of the abbey ruins in what is now known as Bury St. Edmund’s. It was Edward’s destination in The Scourge, and it is his starting point in Nostrum. Sadly, there isn’t much left of the abbey. Just ruined husks of stone that jut upward like decaying teeth. Whatever you may think of Henry VIII, he was responsible for the destruction of more architectural artwork in England than any other monarch. His war against the Catholic Church (a massacre really) left rubble across the kingdom and toppled some of the most magnificent buildings in the world. Asshole.
The cathedral in the background of the above picture was part of the original abbey (although the spire was added recently). As large as the cathedral is, it was a stubby little thing compared to some of the other buildings of the monastery. Evidence! I hear you cry. Show us evidence! And evidence you shall have. Above is a model of what the abbey looked like back in Edward’s days. The model was erected in the beautiful abbey park and stands among the ruins of the monastery. I have labeled it for clarity. See the arrow pointing to the “cathedral?” That little building in the model is the massive church you see in the background of the first picture, up above. Yes, the colossal building that you can see from just about anywhere in the town. It’s just a tiny little part of the model. Can you imagine now, my friends, what the Abbey of St. Edmund’s Bury must have been like? Fuck you, Henry VIII.
This is what Henry VIII left us. This, and a slew of books, movies, TV shows and dead wives. And the song Greensleeves, apparently. Despite the shambles that the abbey is in, I highly recommend a visit if you are in the area. There is still a power and grandeur here. A nobility and a peacefulness that I have to admit seems almost supernatural. And I’m not the only one. On my last visit to the monastery, I saw a half dozen people holding dowsing rods and searching for energy fields among the ruins. I am not making that up. I actually asked one of them what they were doing, and that’s what they told me. I wonder what Sir Edward would have thought of that? Better yet, I wonder what Tristan might have said to them. Not that I should poke fun at them. It’s quite possible they know something I don’t.
The English Heritage has done a brilliant job in maintaining the monastery grounds. Gardens bloom every spring and summer, walking paths wind though the various ruins, and a large playground and discovery area sit on the edges of the abbey park.
Many of the gatehouses, like this one (the Abbey Gate) still stand, thick and tall as castle keeps. You can still tour the Cathedral of St. Peter and the Church of St. Mary (both magnificent structures). You can still see the walled Abbott’s Bridge over the River Lark. The walls of the monastery holdings still meander through the town, visible for long stretches then disappearing into history’s oblivion. The bones of the monastery still gird this ancient market town. And I hope they always will.
That’s all for now. I thank you for your interest in my books and my historical ramblings. I truly hope you enjoy Nostrum and look forward to speaking with you in the coming days.