From the Presbytery
The origins of Muchelney Abbey are, as they say, lost in the mists of time.
The story goes that it was founded in 693 AD by King Ine of Wessex, but that that abbey did not survive, possibly due to Danish raiders. It was then refounded by King Athelstan in 939 AD.
Or at least it may have been. The founding charters are all 13th century forgeries created by the monks to justify their legal status. There are, however, genuine charters mentioning the abbey dated 762 AD and 995 AD, so it seems possible.
Rere-dorter and Abbott's Lodging from the
These days it is difficult to see why the monks chose this spot. It's only during sever floods that the defensive possibilities of the site become clear. That is when Muchelney lives up to the meaning of its name, and becomes a Great Island.
Fragments of the 10th century Saxon church still survive forming a sunken area under the late medieval choir.
For opening times, admission prices, etc., please see English Heritage's official site detailed below.
Soon after the abbey was dissolved in 1538, the great medieval church and its associated monastic buildings, built during the twelfth to fifteenth centuries, were almost all demolished. The little that was left became part of a modest tenanted farm.
All that has survived above ground is the Rere-dorter and the Abbott's Lodging. The latter incorporates the south walk of the cloisters, the monks' kitchens and one wall of the refectory.
The foundations of the rest of the buildings were rediscovered in 1872, and were excavated soon after. The site came into state ownership in 1927.