A monastery was founded here in the 660s by monks from Melrose in Scotland. In 672 St Wilfrid took down the timber buildings and built a Benedictine monastery in stone. Beneath the church was a crypt, created to hold some of the sacred relics Wilfrid brought back from Rome. It still exists, as does his crypt at Hexham. It has two entrances, allowing pilgrims to enter, pass through and leave in an efficient manner: this was modelled on examples in Rome that Wilfrid had visited, and what Wilfrid imagined the tomb of Christ to be like.  Visiting is an extraordinarily atmospheric experience. Inevitably, the relics have long gone, but on the wall is a fine 14th century alabaster carving of the Resurrection.

  Following his Death at Oundle, Wilfrid was buried near the altar of the old church: apart from the crypt, much was destroyed in regional conflicts. Wilfrid remains were moved to Canterbury, c 948, though a small relic was left here.


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