Last Photographed: Tuesday 29th May 2007
The chapel of St Magdalene is a medieval building surviving outside the western edge of the abbey boundary. It is believed that it was originally founded in the early Norman period, but the present chapel dates from 1444AD.
The chapel served as part of a complex of buildings dedicated to St Mary Magdalene that provided hospital facilities to the poor A long hall dating from 1264AD extended directly from the front of the chapel, and it was this building that housed the ill who came here to be treated. They were accommodated in cells that lined the walls on either side of this hall, and monks from the abbey would minister to them during the day, whilst keeping vigil in the chapel by night.
Following the dissolution, the hall was divided into two rows, separated by a central passage. On either side, the building was converted into almshouses for the accommodation of those too old or frail to work. In this way, it continued to serve the poor in the absence of the abbey's monks.
These almshouses were still inhabited up until the 1960s when the property passed into the hands of the local council. One row was demolished due to its poor stare of repair, whilst the other row was salvaged and secured for the future. The site of the demolished row now serves as a tranquil garden, and the whole area is owned and managed by a charitable trust.