The eponymous St Edmund’s Abbey in Bury St Edmunds was once one of the largest Benedictine houses in England. It got destroyed during and after the Dissolution, as these places do, and most of it is now gone, although various picturesque ruins still stud the park that now stands in its place. But not all of it is gone. Some of it was reused in a charming and practical way.
This used to be the west front of the absolutely frickin’ massive abbey church — much larger, if I read my map right, than the present-day cathedral. And then someone came along and turned bits of it into houses. Why waste a good wall? Hell, why even bother knocking down the ruiny bits? It is what it is.
There’s something about the ruins of the abbey that looks organic, like the tufa towers you get at Mono Lake.
Anyway, these days we see medieval buildings as priceless historical treasures, but right up until they were priceless historical treasures they were old eyesores that had to be turned into something practical. I like that.