Woodspring Abbey, 1836

William Lisle Bowles

These walls were built by men who did a deed
  Of blood:--terrific conscience, day by day,
  Followed, where'er their shadow seemed to stay,
And still in thought they saw their victim bleed,
Before God's altar shrieking: pangs succeed,
  As dire upon their heart the deep sin lay,
  No tears of agony could wash away:
Hence! to the land's remotest limit, speed!
These walls are raised in vain, as vainly flows
  Contrition's tear: Earth, hide them, and thou, Sea,
Which round the lone isle, where their bones repose,
 Dost sound for ever, their sad requiem be,
In fancy's ear, at pensive evening's close,
 Still murmuring MISERERE, DOMINE.

Authors own note: Three mailed men, in Canterbury Cathedral, rushed on the Archbishop of Canterbury, and murdered him before the altar. Conscience-stricken, they fled and built Woodspring Abbey, in the remote corner of Somersetshire, near Western Super Mare, where the land looks on the Atlantic sea. There are three unknown graves on the Flat Holms.

Woodspring Priory was founded in 1210 by William de Courtenay, grandson of Reginald Fitzurse, one of the four murderers of Thomas A Beckett, Archbishop of Canterbury. Descendants of two of his accomplices also contributed.

The monastery was suppressed in 1536 and the church turned into a house. It has recently been restored by the Landmark Trust and you can stay in this wonderful historic building.