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NOTLEY ABBEY

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The Augustinian Abbey at Notley was founded around 1162 by Walter Giffard, 2nd Earl of Biskingham, and his wife Ermengard. It was dissolved in 1540. The abbey church and the majority of the original abbey buildings survive only as buried remains, although portions of the claustral range were retained within the house and outbuildings of a post-Dissolution farm - now Notley Abbey House. The house was adapted from the abbot's lodging and guest house, which were constructed in the 15th and early 16th centuries, and stood toward the north west corner of the claustral range. The attached western arm of the cloisters has been rebuilt as a service wing. The south wing, formerly the refectory, kitchens, warming house and reredorter was demolished and rebuilt as a barn in the late 18th century. Fragments of the original architecture remain, most notably a section of 13th century bling arcading against the east wall. The barn is Listed Grade I. The remains of the eastern arm of the cloisters, which contained the chapter house and dormitory, lie beneath a modern range of outbuildings and were partly revealed by excavations in the 1930s. Of the abbey church only a few fragments of the church foundations, such as a pier base from the south aisle of the nave, remain visible. The remainder lies partly beneath a walled garden to the north of the present house. Excavations revealed that the transepts and crossing were constructed around 1160, and that the aisled nave was completed some 40 years later. The chancel was extended to the east around 1300, at which time the crossing was remodelled. The boundary of the abbey precinct is believed to have followed the River Thame to the south east, whilst the north western boundary can be traced in a series of aerial photographs which record the imprint of a partly buried ditch. A series of four fishponds occupies the eastern corner of the precinct. Scheduled.

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