Muchelney Abbey – Somerset, England - Atlas Obscura

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Muchelney Abbey

The ruined abbey includes a rare surviving example of a monastic latrine. 


Muchelney Abbey is set in beautiful surroundings off the beaten track in the Somerset Levels. It’s a fascinating place to visit. The buildings were constructed between the seventh and 16th centuries. The site is made up of the abbott’s house, the monastic ruins, and a communal latrine called a reredorter.

This medieval bathroom is a curious sight to see, as it’s a rare surviving example of such a structure. You can enter the two-story building, and even go upstairs to see the layout of the former toilets and glimpse down at the sewer system lying below.

The abbott’s house has quite a few rooms to be explored, as well. There’s the Cloister Walk, with its display of stonework; the kitchen, with its pitched roof; and the cheese room, with its beautiful fireplace. You can even venture up the great staircase—if you can negotiate your way up the very worn and uneven structure.

The foundations of the abbey are all that are left after Henry VIII’s dissolution of the abbeys in 1538. It is easy to make out the different rooms and shape of the rooms and plan of the abbey, and there is an easy-to-use guide to help you get a feel of the layout.

Know Before You Go

There's a free, decently sized parking lot with disabled parking. There's an entrance fee, though the attraction is free to English Heritage members.

There are limited facilities to get food and drink. There is a vending machine, and you can get cold drinks and ice cream. Picnicking is welcome, and there are a few picnic benches placed underneath the apple trees. 

There are accessible toilets for those in wheelchairs, and the bottom level of the abbot's house is easily accessible. Unfortunately, the monastic toilet has limited-mobility access.

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January 6, 2020

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