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STANLEY ABBEY

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The site of the Cistercian monastery at Stanley. The Abbey was founded in 1151 at Loxwell (ST 96 NE 8) but moved to Stanley in 1154. Originally founded by the Empress Matilda at Loxwell but moved to Stanley by Henry II. Most of the monastery was rebuilt in the early 13th century. Dissolved 1536. The site is marked by the remains of mill or fish-ponds, enclosure ditches and the steads of buildings. Finds of coffins, coins and encaustic tiles were recorded in the 18th/19th centuries. When the railway was cut through the area, more burials were found and 'a blacksmith's forge with small coal' (the Abbey was licensed to dig iron ore in Pewsham Forest in the reign of Edward I). Much architectural debris is built into farm walls etc. and a 'font' or stoup from the church was on the lawn of the new farmhouse in 1894. The site was excavated by Brakspear in 1905-6 and a plan of the claustral buildings and church to the south was recovered. To the east was an infirmary hall and a circular dovecote to the North of that. The site had been extensively robbed for stone. The church incorporated 12th - 14th century features, the claustral buildings were of 12/13th century date and the cloister had been rebuilt in the 14th century. A number of 15th century walls were found, some of which indicate a post-Reformation use of short duration.

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