The south aisle of the church was originally reserved for the monks’ use. It was little more than a narrow passageway and may have been separated from the body of the church by a wall. However, following the closure of the monastery in 1538, the parishioners bought the aisle off the crown and rebuilt it to a much larger scale. Strangely, this is most recent part of the building (before the 21st century additions) has the oldest windows. The builders simply re-used existing 13th century windows, probably taken from the demolished chapter house or refectory.
This aisle now houses the Abbey shop, selling a range of religious articles, souvenirs, guide books and information sheets. All proceeds go towards the upkeep of the church. See also the early clock mechanism that once rang out the hours from a bell on top of the west tower. Look up to see the little stone face high on the wall at the east end – is it a cat, or a lion, or a grotesque human? It may be a survival from the earlier Saxon church on the site. Above the window at the western end are the splendidly painted arms of King George II, a reminder that since 1534 the monarch has been head of the English church. Here you will also find a prayer station for quiet contemplation. Leave a message if you wish to be remembered during our weekday services.