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KINGSWOOD ABBEY GATEHOUSE

ALTERNATIVE NAME:  KINGSWOOD ABBEY, ABBEY GATEHOUSE
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Kingswood Abbey Gatehouse dates to the 16th century and is thought to be the sole surviving remains of a (second) Cistercian Abbey. The first abbey at Kingswood was founded in 1139 by William de Berkeley in accordance with the wishes of his uncle, Roger II of Berkeley, and colonised from the Cistercian house at Tintern. In about 1149, the monks moved to Hazleton, reducing the abbey to grange status. The site of the early abbey/grange at Kingswood is locally believed to be Abbey Farm (ST 79 SW 13) but this is unlikely. Instead there is evidence of slight earthworks, possibly the stone wall foundations, in fields to the west of Kingswood at grid reference ST743920.

The monks returned to Kingwood in about 1164-70 and founded a new abbey on a superior site near the water (the site of the gatehouse). The abbey was surrendered and largely demolished in 1538, during the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII. All that remains is the early 16th century gatehouse, one of the latest monastic buildings to be built in England, with a range of two storey precinct walls on each side. The gatehouse is two storeys high, of ashlar with a Cotswold stone slate roof. There is a central moulded arch at ground floor level with a slit window to the left. Above is a richly sculpted mullioned window with decorative lily. There are two buttresses on either side and a gable finial above with a carved Crucifixion scene. Part of the gatehouse was incorporated into cottages in the early 19th century. The interior of the building has been restored and modernised. The deeds of Kingswood abbey have been held at the University of Bristol since 1945.

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