Cirencester Abbey and Corinium Museum
We visited Cirencester Abbey, also known as the Church of St. John the Baptist, and the nearby Corinium Museum in Cirencester, the largest town in the Cotwsolds with our Cheltenham friends, Gill and Phil and my friend, Carol from San Antonio.
Cirencester Abbey was originally an Augustinian monastery in 1117 and was founded on the site of an earlier church, the oldest known Saxon church in England. The original monastery was suppressed in 1539 by Henry VIII. The evolution of the current church is controversial and the result of a long- standing feud between the townspeople and the abbey. Nevertheless, we found the experience enlightening and we thoroughly enjoyed our visit in the abbey, the largest parish church in England.
We were particularly impressed with the Anne Boleyn Cup, a 16th century gilded silver goblet, on display in the church. We also enjoyed the display of poppies honoring Remembrance Day.
After visiting the abbey, we walked down the street to the Corinium Museum to learn about the Roman history of the area. Most of the exhibits were from the Roman town of Corinium Dobunnorum, but the museum also includes material from the Neolithic age up through Victorian times. Most impressive was the collection of 2nd and 4th century Roman mosaic floors and carvings. It reminded me of my visit to Pompeii.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t enjoy the museum because 60 screaming school children were visiting and running everywhere. We finally gave up and adjourned to the tea shop next door to have some snacks and wait for Gill and Phil to return from their shopping.