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MARHAM ABBEY

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The standing ruins, earthworks and buried remains of a Cistercian nunnery dedicated to the Blessed Virgin and Saints Barbara and Edmund. The nunnery was founded in 1249 and Dissolved in 1536. The abbey precinct is known to have been enclosed by a wall which is referred to in a document of 1627, and in the 18th century was recorded as still standing. The line of this wall along the southern boundary is still marked by a discontinous bank, below which foundations probably survive. All that is now visible of the monastic church is the south wall of the aisleless nave which has been dated to the 13th century. It is built of clunch with freestone dressings. The foundations of the remainder of the church can no longer be traced on the surface but will survive below ground. The conventual buildings were ranged around a three sided clositer about 31 metres square which abutted the south side of the nave, and corbels to support the pentice roof of the north cloister alley can be seen below the windows on the south face of the nave wall. To the north the ruined walls of the outer parlor, dated to the 14th century, still stand in places to a height of 5 metres. The remainder of the west range and the south and east ranges are marked by earthworks up to 1.5 metres high. Adjoining the main claustral complex to the south was a smaller court measuring 20 metres east-west by 14 metres, enclosed on the east side by the projecting southern end of the east range and on the west by a building which abutted the western end of the south claustral range. This is likely to have been part of the kitchen complex. About 64 metres WNW of the abbey church are the well-defined, turf-covered footings of a group of buildings ranged around three sides of a courtyard. These were probably agricultural buildings. The monastic fishponds with their associated water management features lie to the west of the claustral complex and east of the agricultural buildings.

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