While escaping to the sea on an extraordinarily hot day in England, I found myself lost on an old country road in the middle of Norfolk. Somewhere between Wells-next-the-Sea and Fakenham, I came upon on these abbey ruins. Randomly happening upon 13th century ruins isn’t something this American is accustomed too, so I was thrilled and enchanted by these crumbling walls bathed in the golden sunset.
Meet Creake Abbey. It was founded in 1206 as an almshouse for the poor. For 300 years this was its main function, something common to most abbeys. Although it gained the backing of aristocratic patrons, it was never large or rich enough to make such an impact as other Norfolk abbeys did. Eventually it was destroyed by fire and plague. Today it stands in an exceptionally peaceful rural spot, by the River Burn about a mile north of the village of North Creake. Well cared for and surrounded by farmland, it is in a particularly beautiful part of the county. Perhaps this part of Norfolk does not look much different than it did when this chapel was founded 1206.