(active after 1049 in Canterbury)

General view

after 1049
Abbey of Sts. Peter and Paul, Canterbury

The Romanesque period in England is usually known as "Norman" or Anglo-Norman. Building started during the reign of King Edward the Confessor (1042-1066). From about 1045 modestly-sized Anglo-Saxon churches without aisles began to be replaced by building with aisles and round arches, attempts at vaulting, several sections at the east end, towers over the crossing and west end, and external ornamentation consisting of blind arcades and series of round arches.

Edward had grown up in exile in Normandy, and he brought continental bishops and architectural styles to Britain. The influence of the continent on English early Romanesque can be traced to several examples, such as the octagon in Canterbury.

After a visit to Reims in 1049, Abbot Wulfric built an octagonal ambulatory in Canterbury, the oldest monastic centre in England; it was situated between the old Peter and Paul church and the church of St Mary. The building was not completed after his death in 1059, and was excavated at the beginning of the 20th century. Adding a new section to revered old buildings is a typically English tradition, though the models were continental. Several other examples are known.

The photo shows the ruins of the rotunda and the nave of the Church of Sts. Peter and Paul, on the grounds of St Augustine's Abbey.

View the ground plan of Wulfric's octagon in Canterbury.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.