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COGGESHALL ABBEY

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The buried and visible remains of the Savigniac, later Cistercian, monastery of St Mary and St John at Coggeshall. The abbey was founded by King Stephen around 1140, favouring the Savigniac Order. This order collapsed in 1147 and a Papal Bill of 1148 placed it under the control of Citeaux. By 1167, the time of the abbey church's completion, it was fully part of the Cistercian Order. The abbey was dissolved in 1538. The abbey church and the majority of conventual buildings survive only as foundations and buried remains, although portions of the eastern arm of the claustral range still stand, retained within and alongside Abbey Farm. Excavations have revealed the location of the abbey church. To the south of the church the excavations revealed the location of the cloisters, refectory and dormitory. Limited excavation in the 1950s revealed the well preserved foundations of the chapter house. The present house contains the remains of part of the infirmary and is Listed Grade I. Traces of the cloister walk were also uncovered in the 1950s, leading south towards the monks' dorter. Only two walls now stand to mark the position of the dorter. Further standing remains include the abbot's lodging and a narrow corridor-like chamber which are both Listed Grade I. A detached building stands a few metres south of the abbot's lodging and is considered to be the abbey guest house. The standing monastic buildings and most of the excavated foundations are composed primarily of flint and chalk rubble with brick dressings. St Nicholas' Church, facing the town on the western edge of the abbey precinct, was built in the early 13th century as a gatehouse chapel. After 300 years spent as a barn following the Dissolution, the chapel was restored to ecclesiastical use in 1863. The building remains is use as a place of worship and is Listed Grade I. Additional earthwork remains include a flight of fishponds to the north east of the standing remains. Scheduled.

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