River Stour, Suffolk
The River Stour is a river in East Anglia, England. It is 47 miles long and forms most of the county boundary between Suffolk to the north, Essex to the south, it rises in eastern Cambridgeshire, passes to the east of Haverhill, through Cavendish, Sudbury, Stratford St Mary and flows through the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It joins the North Sea at Harwich; the name is of disputed origin. On one theory, the name Stour derives from the Celtic sturr meaning "strong". However, the river-name Stour, common in England, does not occur at all in Wales. In Germany the Stoer is a tributary of the River Elbe. According to Brewer's Britain and Ireland the Stour is pronounced differently in different cases: the Kentish and East Anglian Stours rhyme with tour. Locally, the River Stour dividing Essex from Suffolk does not have a uniform pronunciation, varying from stowr to stoor; as against that, stour is a Middle English word with two distinct meanings and derivations, still current enough to appear in most substantial dictionaries.
As an adjective, with Germanic roots, it signifies "large, powerful". As a noun, from medieval French roots, it signifies "commotion. Wiktionary adds "blowing or deposit of dust", the primary definition in the Concise Oxford Dictionary, which adds that this is a northern English and Scottish usage of uncertain derivation. In 2006 it has been suggested that an Old European river-name was taken for an Old English adjective and that stour came to represent one pole of a structural opposition, with blyth at the opposite pole, allowing Anglo-Saxons to classify rivers on a continuum of fierceness; the Victorian etymologist Isaac Taylor, now long discredited on many counts, proposed a simple solution: that Stour derives from dŵr, the Welsh word for water. It is quite possible that the various Stours do not share a common origin and that they need to be considered in their own terms rather than as a single problem. There is no universally-accepted explanation; the Stour rises in Wratting Common, near to Weston Colville, reaches the sea at Harwich.
The eastern part of the River Stour is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty known as Dedham Vale, named after the village of Dedham in Essex. It is an area of rural beauty on both sides of the River Stour; the Dedham Vale AONB is 11 1⁄2 miles east-west and 2.4 to 4.8 miles north-south. The earliest known settlement on the river in Suffolk was at Great Bradley, where man has had a recorded presence for over 5,000 years; the River Stour was one of the first improved canals in England. Parliament passed'An Act for making the River Stower navigable from the town of Manningtree, in the county of Essex, to the town of Sudbury, in the county of Suffolk' in 1705, mandating public navigation rights and providing the basis of a joint stock company of London and Suffolk investors who raised £4,800 to cut and manage the river. Although supplanted by railways, lighters were still working on the Stour above Manningtree until World War II; as of 2016 they still operate as far as Mistley. The Stour valley has been portrayed as a working river by John Constable, Thomas Gainsborough, Alfred Munnings and Paul Nash and Cedric Morris.
Constable's connection with the area was important, evident in such works as The Stour Valley and Dedham Church c. 1815. Today much of the Stour valley is designated an Area of Outstanding Beauty; the River Stour Trust, a waterway restoration group, was set up in 1968 to protect and enhance the right of the public to navigate the River Stour. The trust seeks to restore through navigation from Sudbury to the sea, following on the successful restoration of the locks at Stratford St Mary, Dedham and Great Cornard, by reinstating the remaining locks. Meanwhile, the trust encourages use of the River Stour by small craft and organises annual events for all age groups and abilities on different parts of the river. River Stour Trust boat trips and private charters, skippered by volunteer boat crew, are available in Flatford and Sudbury between Easter and October; the Environment Agency is the navigation authority for the river. River Stour Boating Community Interest Company and Outdoor Hire Centre Network organise two-day canoeing and camping expeditions from Sudbury to the estuary at Cattawade along with other annual events such as Santa Paddle and the Coracle Regatta.
RSPB Stour Estuary is a nature reserve managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. List of rivers in England History of the British canal system The River Stour Trust Stour lighter John Constable Register of National Historic Ships Priestley's Navigable Rivers and Canals, 1831 River Stour p. 597 Bures Community Website - gives the full Navigation history of the river from the time of the horse drawn lighters up to the present day
Sudbury is a small market town in the English county of Suffolk. It is located on the River Stour near the Essex border, is 60 miles north-east of London. At the 2011 census, the parish has a population of 13,063, rising to 21,971 including the adjoining parish of Great Cornard, it is the largest town of Babergh district council, the local government district, is represented in the UK Parliament as part of the South Suffolk constituency. Evidence of Sudbury as a settlement originates from the end of the 8th century during the Anglo-Saxon era, its market was established in the early 11th century, its textile industries prospered during the Late Middle Ages. The town became notable for its art in the 18th century, being the birthplace of Thomas Gainsborough, whose landscapes offered inspiration to John Constable, another Suffolk painter of the surrounding Stour Valley area; the 19th century saw the arrival of the railway with the opening of a station on the historic Stour Valley Railway, Sudbury railway station forms the current terminus of the Gainsborough Line.
During World War II, US Army Airforce bombers operated from RAF Sudbury. Today, Sudbury retains its status as a market town with a twice-weekly market in the town centre in front of St Peter's Church, now a local community point for events such as concerts and exhibitions. In sport, the town has a semi-professional football club, A. F. C. Sudbury, which competes at the seventh level of the football pyramid. Sudbury's history dates back into the age of the Saxons; the town's earliest mention is in 799 AD, when Bishop of Dunwich, died in the town. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records the town as Suthberie, presumed to distinguish it from Norwich or Bury St Edmunds, to the north, ca. 995 is recorded as Suthbyrig. The town is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086, as a market town where the local people came to barter their goods; the market was established in 1009. During this period the town was surrounded by a defensive ditch and a diverted section of the River Stour; the Church of All Saints was established in the 12th century before being bought by Adam the Monk, who passed the church and its lands to the Abbey of St Albans.
St Bartholemew's Priory and the Chapel of Holy Sepulchre were established in the 12th century. A community of Dominicans arrived in the mid-13th century and extended the size of their priory, one of three Dominican priories in the county of Suffolk. A leper hospital was founded on the outskirts of the town in 1272. Sudbury was one of the first towns in which Edward III settled the Flemings, allowing the weaving and silk industries to prosper for centuries during the Late Middle Ages; as the main town in the area, Sudbury prospered too, many great houses and churches were built, giving the town a major historical legacy. The Woolsack in the House of Lords was stuffed with wool from the Sudbury area, a sign of both the importance of the wool industry and of the wealth of the donors. One citizen of Sudbury, Archbishop Simon Sudbury showed that not the Tower of London guarantees safety. On 14 June 1381 guards allowed a party of rebellious peasants to enter. Sudbury, inventor of the poll tax, was beheaded.
His body was afterwards buried in Canterbury Cathedral, but his skull is kept in St. Gregory's with St. Peter's Church, one of the three medieval churches in Sudbury. Simon's concerns for his native town are reflected in the founding of St Leonard's Hospital in 1372, a place of respite, towards Long Melford, for lepers. For the College of St Gregory, which he founded in 1375 to support eight priests, he used his father's former house and an adjoining plot. From the 16th to 18th century the weaving industry was less profitable and Sudbury experienced periods of varying prosperity. By means of the borough court, the mayor and corporation directed the affairs of the town, they built a house of correction for'rogues and sturdy beggars' and tried to finance the reconstruction of Ballingdon Bridge, which disappeared during a storm on 4 September 1594. Among theatrical companies they paid to visit Sudbury were the King's Men. Minor infringements, such as not attending church, were punished by fines, for worse offenders there was a stocks or a whipping.
During the Civil War a 12-strong band of watchmen was created to prevent the town's enemies, presumed to be Royalists, burning it down. Sudbury and the surrounding area, like much of East Anglia, was a hotbed of Puritan sentiment during much of the 17th century. Sudbury was among the town's called "notorious wasps' nests of dissent." During the 1630s, many families departed for the Massachusetts Bay Colony as part of the wave of emigration that occurred during the Great Migration. In 1705 the River Stour Navigation Act was passed in Parliament, work was undertaken to make the river navigable all the way from Manningtree. By the 18th century the fees charged to become a freeman, with voting rights, were exorbitant and the borough of Sudbury, along with 177 other English towns, was reformed by a Municipal Reform Act. During the 18th century Sudbury became famous for its local artists. John Constable painted in the area the River Stour. Painter Thomas Gainsborough was born in Sudbury in 1727, was educated at Sudbury Grammar School.
His birthplace, now named Gainsborough's House, is open to the public. It houses some of his family possessions. A statue of Gainsborough was unveiled in the town centre outside St Peter's Church on Market Hill in 1913; the 1832 Reform Act saw the villages of Bal
Roman roads were physical infrastructure vital to the maintenance and development of the Roman state, were built from about 300 BC through the expansion and consolidation of the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire. They provided efficient means for the overland movement of armies and civilians, the inland carriage of official communications and trade goods. Roman roads were of several kinds, ranging from small local roads to broad, long-distance highways built to connect cities, major towns and military bases; these major roads were stone-paved and metaled, cambered for drainage, were flanked by footpaths and drainage ditches. They were laid along surveyed courses, some were cut through hills, or conducted over rivers and ravines on bridgework. Sections could be supported over marshy ground on piled foundations. At the peak of Rome's development, no fewer than 29 great military highways radiated from the capital, the late Empire's 113 provinces were interconnected by 372 great roads; the whole comprised more than 400,000 kilometres of roads, of which over 80,500 kilometres were stone-paved.
In Gaul alone, no less than 21,000 kilometres of roadways are said to have been improved, in Britain at least 4,000 kilometres. The courses of many Roman roads survived for millennia. Livy mentions some of the most familiar roads near Rome, the milestones on them, at times long before the first paved road—the Appian Way. Unless these allusions are just simple anachronisms, the roads referred to were at the time little more than levelled earthen tracks. Thus, the Via Gabina is mentioned in about 500 BC. In the Itinerary of Antoninus, the description of the road system, after the death of Julius Caesar and during the tenure of Augustus, is as follows: "With the exception of some outlying portions, such as Britain north of the Wall and certain provinces east of the Euphrates, the whole Empire was penetrated by these itinera. There is hardly a district to which we might expect a Roman official to be sent, on service either civil or military, where we do not find roads, they reach the Wall in Britain.
A road map of the empire reveals that it was laced with a dense network of prepared viae. Beyond its borders there were no paved roads. There were, for instance, some pre-Roman ancient trackways in Britain, such as the Ridgeway and the Icknield Way. For specific roads, see Roman road locations below; the Laws of the Twelve Tables, dated to about 450 BC, required that any public road be 8 Roman feet wide where straight and twice that width where curved. These were the minimum widths for a via. Actual practices varied from this standard; the Tables command Romans to build public roads and give wayfarers the right to pass over private land where the road is in disrepair. Building roads that would not need frequent repair therefore became an ideological objective, as well as building them as straight as possible in order to build the narrowest roads possible, thus save on material. Roman law defined the right to use a road as liability; the ius eundi established a claim to use an footpath, across private land.
A via combined both types of servitutes, provided it was of the proper width, determined by an arbiter. The default width was the latitudo legitima of 8 feet. Roman law and tradition forbade the use of vehicles except in certain cases. Married women and government officials on business could ride; the Lex Iulia Municipalis restricted commercial carts to night-time access in the city within the walls and within a mile outside the walls. Roman roads varied from simple corduroy roads to paved roads using deep roadbeds of tamped rubble as an underlying layer to ensure that they kept dry, as the water would flow out from between the stones and fragments of rubble, instead of becoming mud in clay soils. According to Ulpian, there were three types of roads: Viae publicae, praetoriae or militares Viae privatae, glareae or agrariae Viae vicinales The first type of road included public high or main roads and maintained at the public expense, with their soil vested in the state; such roads led either to a town, or to a public river, or to another public road.
Siculus Flaccus, who lived under Trajan, calls them viae publicae regalesque, describes their characteristics as follows: They are placed under curatores, repaired by redemptores at the public expense. These roads bear the names of their constructors. Roman roads were named after the censor who had ordered their reconstruction; the same person served afterwards as c
Suffolk is an East Anglian county of historic origin in England. It has borders with Cambridgeshire to the west and Essex to the south; the North Sea lies to the east. The county town is Ipswich; the county is low-lying with few hills, is arable land with the wetlands of the Broads in the north. The Suffolk Coast and Heaths are an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. By the fifth century, the Angles had established control of the region; the Angles became the "north folk" and the "south folk", from which developed the names "Norfolk" and "Suffolk". Suffolk and several adjacent areas became the kingdom of East Anglia, which merged with Mercia and Wessex. Suffolk was divided into four separate Quarter Sessions divisions. In 1860, the number of divisions was reduced to two; the eastern division was administered from the western from Bury St Edmunds. Under the Local Government Act 1888, the two divisions were made the separate administrative counties of East Suffolk and West Suffolk. A few Essex parishes were added to Suffolk: Ballingdon-with-Brundon and parts of Haverhill and Kedington.
On 1 April 1974, under the Local Government Act 1972, East Suffolk, West Suffolk, Ipswich were merged to form the unified county of Suffolk. The county was divided into several local government districts: Babergh, Forest Heath, Mid Suffolk, St Edmundsbury, Suffolk Coastal, Waveney; this act transferred some land near Great Yarmouth to Norfolk. As introduced in Parliament, the Local Government Act would have transferred Newmarket and Haverhill to Cambridgeshire and Colchester from Essex. In 2007, the Department for Communities and Local Government referred Ipswich Borough Council's bid to become a new unitary authority to the Boundary Committee; the Boundary Committee reported in favour of the proposal. It was not, approved by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. Beginning in February 2008, the Boundary Committee again reviewed local government in the county, with two possible options emerging. One was that of splitting Suffolk into two unitary authorities – Ipswich and Felixstowe and Rural Suffolk.
In February 2010, the then-Minister Rosie Winterton announced that no changes would be imposed on the structure of local government in the county as a result of the review, but that the government would be: "asking Suffolk councils and MPs to reach a consensus on what unitary solution they want through a countywide constitutional convention". Following the May 2010 general election, all further moves towards any of the suggested unitary solutions ceased on the instructions of the incoming Coalition government. In 2018 it was determined that Forest Heath and St Edmundsbury would be merged to form a new West Suffolk district, while Waveney and Suffolk Coastal would form a new East Suffolk district; these changes took effect on 1 April 2019. West Suffolk, like nearby East Cambridgeshire, is renowned for archaeological finds from the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, the Iron Age. Bronze Age artefacts have been found in the area between Mildenhall and West Row, in Eriswell and in Lakenheath. Many bronze objects, such as swords, arrows, palstaves, daggers, armour, decorative equipment, fragments of sheet bronze, are entrusted to St. Edmundsbury heritage service, housed at West Stow just outside Bury St. Edmunds.
Other finds include traces of barrows. In the east of the county is Sutton Hoo, the site of one of England's most significant Anglo-Saxon archaeological finds, a ship burial containing a collection of treasures including a Sword of State and silver bowls, jewellery and a lyre; the majority of agriculture in Suffolk is either mixed. Farm sizes vary from anything around 80 acres to over 8,000. Soil types vary from heavy clays to light sands. Crops grown include:winter wheat, winter barley, sugar beet, oilseed rape and spring beans and linseed, although smaller areas of rye and oats can be found growing in areas with lighter soils along with a variety of vegetables; the continuing importance of agriculture in the county is reflected in the Suffolk Show, held annually in May at Ipswich. Although latterly somewhat changed in nature, this remains an agricultural show. Below is a chart of regional gross value added of Suffolk at current basic prices published by Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling.
Well-known companies in Suffolk include Greene Branston Pickle in Bury St Edmunds. Birds Eye has its largest UK factory in Lowestoft, where all its meat products and frozen vegetables are processed. Huntley & Palmers biscuit company has a base in Sudbury; the UK horse racing industry is based in Newmarket. There are two USAF bases in the west of the county close to the A11. Sizewell B nuclear power station is at Sizewell on the coast near Leiston. Bernard Matthews Farms have some processing units in the county Holton. Southwold is the home of Adnams Brewery; the Port of Felixstowe is the largest container port in the United Kingdom. Other ports are at Ipswich, run by Associated British Ports. BT has its main development facility at Martlesham Heath. There are several towns in the county with Ipswich being most populous. At the time
Essex is a county in the south-east of England, north-east of London. One of the home counties, it borders Suffolk and Cambridgeshire to the north, Hertfordshire to the west, Kent across the estuary of the River Thames to the south, London to the south-west; the county town is the only city in the county. For government statistical purposes Essex is placed in the East of England region. Essex occupies the eastern part of the ancient Kingdom of Essex, which united with the other Anglian and Saxon kingdoms to make England a single nation state; as well as rural areas, the county includes London Stansted Airport, the new towns of Basildon and Harlow, Lakeside Shopping Centre, the port of Tilbury and the borough of Southend-on-Sea. The name Essex originates in the Anglo-Saxon period of the Early Middle Ages and has its root in the Anglo-Saxon name Ēastseaxe, the eastern kingdom of the Saxons who had come from the continent and settled in Britain during the Heptarchy. Recorded in AD 527, Essex occupied territory to the north of the River Thames, incorporating all of what became Middlesex and most of what became Hertfordshire.
Its territory was restricted to lands east of the River Lea. Colchester in the north-east of the county is Britain's oldest recorded town, dating from before the Roman conquest, when it was known as Camulodunum and was sufficiently well-developed to have its own mint. In AD 824, following the Battle of Ellandun, the kingdoms of the East Saxons, the South Saxons and the Jutes of Kent were absorbed into the kingdom of the West Saxons, uniting Saxland under King Alfred's grandfather Ecgberht. Before the Norman conquest the East Saxons were subsumed into the Kingdom of England. After the Norman conquest, Essex became a county. During the medieval period, much of the area was designated a Royal forest, including the entire county in a period to 1204, when the area "north of the Stanestreet" was disafforested; the areas subject to forest law diminished, but at various times they included the forests of Becontree, Epping, Hatfield and Waltham. Essex County Council was formed in 1889. However, County Boroughs of West Ham, Southend-on-Sea and East Ham formed part of the county but were unitary authorities.
12 boroughs and districts provide more localised services such as rubbish and recycling collections and planning, as shown in the map on the right. A few Essex parishes have been transferred to other counties. Before 1889, small areas were transferred to Hertfordshire near Bishops Stortford and Sawbridgeworth. At the time of the main changes around 1900, parts of Helions Bumpstead, Sturmer and Ballingdon-with-Brundon were transferred to Suffolk. Part of Hadstock, part of Ashton and part of Chrishall were transferred to Cambridgeshire and part of Great Horkesley went to Suffolk; the boundary with Greater London was established in 1965, when East Ham and West Ham county boroughs and the Barking, Dagenham, Ilford, Romford and Wanstead and Woodford districts were transferred to form the London boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, Newham and Waltham Forest. Essex became part of the East of England Government Office Region in 1994 and was statistically counted as part of that region from 1999, having been part of the South East England region.
In 1998, the boroughs of Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock were granted autonomy from the administrative county of Essex after successful requests to become unitary authorities. Essex Police covers the two unitary authorities; the county council chamber and main headquarters is at the County Hall in Chelmsford. Before 1938, the council met in London near Moorgate, which with significant parts of the county close to that point and the dominance of railway travel had been more convenient than any place in the county, it has 75 elected councillors. Before 1965, the number of councillors reached over 100; the County Hall, made a listed building in 2007, dates from the mid-1930s and is decorated with fine artworks of that period the gift of the family who owned the textile firm Courtaulds. The highest point of the county of Essex is Chrishall Common near the village of Langley, close to the Hertfordshire border, which reaches 482 feet; the ceremonial county of Essex is bounded to the south by its estuary.
The pattern of settlement in the county is diverse. The Metropolitan Green Belt has prevented the further sprawl of London into the county, although it contains the new towns of Basildon and Harlow developed to resettle Londoners after the destruction of London housing in the Second World War, since which they have been developed and expanded. Epping Forest prevents the further spread of the Greater London Urban Area; as it is not far from London with its economic magnetism, many of Essex's settlements those near or within short driving distance of railway stations, function as dormitory towns or villages where London workers raise their families. Part of the s
The United Kingdom the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, sometimes referred to as Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world; the Irish Sea lies between Great Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres, the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world, it is the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017. The UK is constitutional monarchy; the current monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 1952, making her the longest-serving current head of state.
The United Kingdom's capital and largest city is London, a global city and financial centre with an urban area population of 10.3 million. Other major urban areas in the UK include Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire conurbations, Greater Glasgow and the Liverpool Built-up Area; the United Kingdom consists of four constituent countries: England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Edinburgh and Belfast, respectively. Apart from England, the countries have their own devolved governments, each with varying powers, but such power is delegated by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which may enact laws unilaterally altering or abolishing devolution; the nearby Isle of Man, Bailiwick of Guernsey and Bailiwick of Jersey are not part of the UK, being Crown dependencies with the British Government responsible for defence and international representation. The medieval conquest and subsequent annexation of Wales by the Kingdom of England, followed by the union between England and Scotland in 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, the union in 1801 of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
Five-sixths of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present formulation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. There are fourteen British Overseas Territories, the remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, encompassed a quarter of the world's land mass and was the largest empire in history. British influence can be observed in the language and political systems of many of its former colonies; the United Kingdom is a developed country and has the world's fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP and ninth-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It has a high-income economy and has a high Human Development Index rating, ranking 14th in the world, it was the world's first industrialised country and the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The UK remains a great power, with considerable economic, military and political influence internationally, it is sixth in military expenditure in the world. It has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its first session in 1946.
It has been a leading member state of the European Union and its predecessor, the European Economic Community, since 1973. The United Kingdom is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Council of Europe, the G7, the G20, NATO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Trade Organization; the 1707 Acts of Union declared that the kingdoms of England and Scotland were "United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain". The term "United Kingdom" has been used as a description for the former kingdom of Great Britain, although its official name from 1707 to 1800 was "Great Britain"; the Acts of Union 1800 united the kingdom of Great Britain and the kingdom of Ireland in 1801, forming the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Following the partition of Ireland and the independence of the Irish Free State in 1922, which left Northern Ireland as the only part of the island of Ireland within the United Kingdom, the name was changed to the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland".
Although the United Kingdom is a sovereign country, Scotland and Northern Ireland are widely referred to as countries. The UK Prime Minister's website has used the phrase "countries within a country" to describe the United Kingdom; some statistical summaries, such as those for the twelve NUTS 1 regions of the United Kingdom refer to Scotland and Northern Ireland as "regions". Northern Ireland is referred to as a "province". With regard to Northern Ireland, the descriptive name used "can be controversial, with the choice revealing one's political preferences"; the term "Great Britain" conventionally refers to the island of Great Britain, or politically to England and Wales in combination. However, it is sometimes used as a loose synonym for the United Kingdom as a whole; the term "Britain" is used both as a synonym for Great Britain, as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Usage is mixed, with the BBC preferring to use Britain as shorthand only for Great Britain and the UK Government, while accepting that both terms refer to the United K
An abbey is a complex of buildings used by members of a religious order under the governance of an abbot or abbess. It provides a place for religious activities and housing of Christian monks and nuns; the concept of the abbey has developed over many centuries from the early monastic ways of religious men and women where they would live isolated from the lay community about them. Religious life in an abbey may be monastic. An abbey may be open to visitors; the layout of the church and associated buildings of an abbey follows a set plan determined by the founding religious order. Abbeys are self-sufficient while using any abundance of produce or skill to provide care to the poor and needy, refuge to the persecuted, or education to the young; some abbeys offer accommodation to people. There are many famous abbeys across Europe; the earliest known Christian monasteries were groups of huts built near the residence of a famous ascetic or other holy person. Disciples wished to be close to their holy man or woman in order to study their doctrine or imitate their way of life.
In the earliest times of Christian monasticism, ascetics would live in social isolation but near a village church. They would subsist whilst donating any excess produce to the poor. However, increasing religious fervor about the ascetic's ways and or persecution of them would drive them further away from their community and further into solitude. For instance, the cells and huts of anchorites have been found in the deserts of Egypt. In 312 AD, Anthony the Great retired to the Thebaid region of Egypt to escape the persecution of the Emperor Maximian. Anthony was the best known of the anchorites of his time due to his degree of austerity and his powers of exorcism; the deeper he withdrew into the wilderness, the more numerous his disciples became. They refused to be built their cells close to him; this became a first true monastic community. Anthony, according to Johann August Wilhelm Neander, inadvertently became the founder of a new mode of living in common, Coenobitism. At Tabennae on the Nile, in Upper Egypt, Saint Pachomius laid the foundations for the coenobitical life by arranging everything in an organized manner.
He built several monasteries, each with about 1,600 separate cells laid out in lines. These cells formed an encampment where the monks performed some of their manual tasks. There were nearby large halls such as the church, kitchen and guest house for the monk's common needs. An enclosure protecting all these buildings gave the settlement the appearance of a walled village; this layout, known as the laurae, became popular throughout Palestine. As well as the "laurae", communities known as "caenobia" developed; these were monasteries. The monks were not permitted to retire to the cells of a laurae before they had undergone a lengthy period of training. In time, this form of common life superseded that of the older laurae. In the late 300s AD, Palladius visited the Egyptian monasteries, he described three hundred members of the coenobium of Panopolis. There were seven smiths, four carpenters, twelve camel-drivers and fifteen tanners; these people were divided into subgroups, each with its own "oeconomus".
A chief steward was at the head of the monastery. The produce of the monastery was brought to Alexandria for sale; the moneys were given away as charity. Twice in the year, the superiors of several coenobia met at the chief monastery, under the presidency of an "archimandrite" in order to make their reports. Chrysostom recorded the workings of a coenobia in the vicinity of Antioch; the monks lived in separate huts. They were subject to an abbot, observed a common rule; the layout of the monastic coenobium was influenced by a number of factors. These included a need for defence, economy of space, convenience of access; the layout of buildings became orderly. Larger buildings were erected and defence was provided by strong outside walls. Within the walls, the buildings were arranged around one or more open courts surrounded by cloisters; the usual arrangement for monasteries of the Eastern world is exemplified in the plan of the convent of the Great Lavra at Mount Athos. With reference to the diagram, the convent of the Great Lavra is enclosed within a strong and lofty blank stone wall.
The area within the wall is between four acres. The longer side is about 500 feet in length. There is only one entrance, located on the north side, defended by three iron doors. Near the entrance is a large tower, a constant feature in the monasteries of the Levant. There is a small postern gate at L; the enceinte comprises two large open courts, surrounded with buildings connected with cloister galleries of wood or stone. The outer court, the larger by far, contains the granaries and storehouses, the kitchen and other offices connected with the refectory. Adjacent to the gateway is a two-storied guest-house, entered from a cloister; the inner court is surrounded by a cloister. In the centre of this court stands the katholikon or conventual church, a square building with an apse of the cruciform domical Byzantine type, approached by a domed narthex. In front of the church stands a marble fountain, covered by a dome supported on columns. Opening from the western side of the cloister, but s