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25 24 The GReAT Abbey longest in Britain Left The abbey as it looked shortly before its destruction in 1539. A detailed model can be found in the abbey museum. In the early 14th century the Mary chapel, which had stood alone, was joined by a processional building, known as the Galilee, to the west entrance of the abbey church. In about 1500, Abbot Richard Beere built the crypt under the Mary chapel still seen today, dedicating it to st Joseph. In doing so, he excavated the holy ground on which the original wattle church of st Joseph had stood. on the east end of the abbey Beere built the edgar chapel, designed to house memorials to the saxon King edgar, held to have been one of the abbey s great benefactors. the foundations of this were later to be excavated by Bligh Bond. During the 13th century, construction of the great abbey church continued until its completion in 1278 when Arthur and Guinevere were reinterred there. Its cruciform shape extended a vast 580 feet from the western end of the st Mary chapel to its eastern end, an area larger than canterbury cathedral. A huge square bell tower stood at the crossing. In the same period a large cloister, and many other monastic buildings, such as the refectory monk s dining hall, and a dorter monk s dormitory were added. the west front was built with twin flanking towers soon after 1250 and for many years the furnishing and decoration of the church went on, with vaulting of the nave and extensive painting continuing well into the 14th century.
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