September 2 2014 Latest news:
West Suffolk senior reporter
Thursday, January 30, 2014
The chance to own a key piece of Bury St Edmunds history is up for grabs – at a price of £575,000.
A three-bedroom home within the ruined walls of the famous abbey has come onto the market with Bedfords estate agents.
Number two, the West Front, is a Grade-I-Listed building in a scheduled monument.
The abbey was begun just before the Norman Conquest in 1020 by King Canute, with the West Front completed in about 1220.
The abbey fell into disrepair following the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539 and the ruins started to be converted into houses in the 1600s.
Martyn Taylor, a local history guide whose tours take in the West Front, said: “It’s a unique opportunity to buy something which is Bury St Edmunds at its best. You are buying a piece of history.”
The town – referred to as a jewel in the crown of Suffolk on new signs – has a significant link with the Magna Carta, which laid the foundations for the legal system in the UK today.
It is believed that on November 20, 1214, the barons came to the abbey to swear their allegiance to each other to force King John to seal the charter, which he did the following year at Runnymede.
The estate agents’ brochure on Number two the West Front said the property is predominantly over three floors, with the first-floor sitting room taking in views of the Great Churchyard, the cathedral and the Abbey Gardens. “Situated within a short walk of all the major town amenities and with a private allocated parking space within a gated courtyard, it is without doubt one of Bury’s finest.” Last year another property built into the West Front ruins – Samson’s Tower – was up for sale with Bedfords and has since been purchased.
The West Front houses were inherited by St Edmundsbury Borough Council in 1974. The authority still owns the properties, which were redeveloped in 2006 and sold on leasehold.