Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Byland Abbey

"27 April.   R. and I drive over to Rievaulx, where they are to video the titles of Irwin's TV history series,  Heroes or Villains?, in the sequence which opens the second act of the play.  En route we stop and have our sandwiches at Byland, where we are the only visitors this cold and cloudy morning.  As an abbey it's always more peaceful because less dramatically situated than either Rievaulx or Fountains, on a flat and boggy plain backed by woods and often quite hard to find.  A notable feature is an alleyway of reading carrels backing the cloister, together with many surviving stretches of medieval tiled floor, but much the most numinous object is a green earthenware inkwell found in the chapterhouse during excavations and now in the abbey museum;  it was presumably used, possibly for the last time, to sign the deed of surrender handing the abbey over to Henry VIII's commissioners."

Untold Stories  (Diaries 1996-2004)  Alan Bennett

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