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BATTLE ABBEY

ALTERNATIVE NAME:  ST MARTINS ABBEY
DESCRIPTION + /

The ruins of Battle Abbey, a Benedictine Abbey of St Martin, founded in 1067 by William the Conqueror on the site of the Battle of Hastings. The high altar of the Abbey Church is said to have been erected on the spot where King Harold's standard fell. The abbey had various dependencies, including Carmarthen, Brecon, St Nicholas at Exeter and Battle Hospital.
In the mid 13th century, the entire claustral range was rebuilt and in the late 13th century the church was extended eastwards and a separate guest house to the south-east was built. The abbey was dissolved by Henry VIII in 1538 and the lands passed to Sir Anthony Browne. He built a large house over the almonry on the west side of the cloisters which incorporated the west end of the frater and part of the abbot's lodgings. A court house was built in the 16th century adjoining the east side of the abbey's gatehouse (1338) and was used until the 18th century. The house was altered in 1857 and is now a public school. The abbey and grounds are now run by English Heritage.

Practically no remains of the abbey church have survived above ground but excavations have revealed the foundations and the original east end of the church as well as the east end of the later 14th century presbytery. The main standing remains of the abbey are the 13th century dormitory, the vaults beneath the guest house and the gate house. This is one of the best surviving medieval monastic gate houses in Britain. A 16th century court-house was later attached to the side of the gate house. The 16th century house, built by Sir Anthony Browne and now a girl's school, incorporates parts of the 14th century abbots' house, frater and cloisters. It was altered and enlarged extensively in the 19th century and the majority of the decorative features date from that period.

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Further information about monuments may be obtained by contacting Archive Services, through the Historic England website.