I found a Romanesque abbey which, although it doesn’t look much like the site I remember, I’m intrigued by its location: it’s in Shropshire!
So supposing this is the place then? It would really fit things together too neatly. I walk away from the life of a soldier in the 13th century and retire to an abbey in Shropshire, only to come back to Shropshire in the 20th century and become a soldier. That’s if this is the place.
I’m asking friends in the UK to start looking for other Romanesque abbeys. I’m still not sure this one quite meets the look I’m thinking of and until I search thoroughly and find no other match, I’ll assume it’s not.
A better match for my memory will have most or all of the following features:
A partly-intact gardens that still have some of their original contours and ponds; a doorway slightly sunken into the ground and accessible only by going a short but steep slope of 3-5 feet like the side of a ditch; squat, fairly wide Romanesque columns; rounded door arches with very few Gothic additions if any; a history of attracting young lovers.
This is really getting interesting, folks. I started out looking for a Tommy who never made it home, and now I’m on the trail of a medieval monk. If I can confirm the details of two past lives, I’ll be very astonished but very fascinated. It will also affirm what I already know: that I have a deep and very old connection to England.