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  • Andy Williams

Summer 2023 Update

Despite the awful weather, our volunteers have been busy keeping the abbey site tidy and free of weeds.

The poor weather caused us to cancel our activity on Saturday 5th August, but volunteers have been busy on other weekends, often doing battle to stay dry!

The Nave area - this area gets overgrown very quickly and requires a regular 'haircut' with a petrol strimmer. Over the summer Andy and Noel moved several plastic bags that were full of old rubble, left over from the archaeological digs. These bags were moved away from the nave area which allowed Andy the opportunity to cut back the weeds and overgrown bushes. We've included a photograph of the nave 'night steps' which were exposed after several sweeps with the petrol strimmer. We understand these steps would have provided the monks access to the nave area during the night (hence being called 'night steps').

Borders and Raised beds - Our volunteers have been germinating seeds and small plants in the raised bedding areas and borders. These are the same type of flowers that are known to have existed in the 12th century. Noel and Karen are our chief seed growers, ably assisted by our other volunteers who regularly keep the plants and flowers as 'weed-free' as possible. The flowers and plants start to emerge and blossom throughout the spring and summer time. We've included several photos of the abbey site showing the borders and some of our flowers.

Cathy's Seat/Library Area - One of our volunteers, Cathy has been working on the area that you see in the photographs above, that resembles a square looking seat. We understand this area would have been used by the monks to read and store books. Cathy spent several weekends removing weeds and debris from this area to expose a really quite impressive area. Well done Cathy, you worked really hard to reveal this lovely feature!

Visitors - Whenever we are working in the abbey gardens, we encourage visitors to wander in and have a look around. If visitors would like more information during these visits, Elaine often provides them with information and a guided tour of the abbey site. On the 10th June 2023, Elaine provided a guided tour to a total of 11 visitors who all stated they found the visit very interesting and informative (very often visitors remark "I never knew we had an abbey in Keynsham!").

Medieval Tile - when clearing the debris to the nave area Noel and Andy found part of a floor tile. This tile was covered in mud and so it was taken away and cleaned. Once the tile was cleaned, it revealed some lovely glazed green and white paint work. Elaine brought in some medieval tile illustrations and we were able to match the broken tile with other medieval tiles that were found during the archaeological digs. This tile and other smaller artefacts we have found while gardening at the abbey, can be seen by visitors to the site.

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