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MEAUX ABBEY

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Cistercian monastery, founded in 1151 and dissolved in 1539. Surviving earthworks of moats and fishponds. The chapel at Ottringham became a chantry of Meaux in 1293 with 7 monks, but since that resulted in a relaxation of monastic rule, 30 years later it was moved to a chapel outside Meaux's gates. The core of the abbey lay towards the centre of the site which is surrounded by a moated precinct. The church, traced on the ground by its grassed over foundations, was a major building 80m long with an aisled nave of nine bays, a short choir, a central bell tower and transepts with eastern chapels. It was begun in 1207 and dedicated in 1253, replacing a smaller stone and wood church built in 1160 which had been constructed from materials from the demolished motte and bailey at Mount Ferrand near Birdsall. The fine tiled floor of the second church was largely removed to the British Museum and private collections; a section is preserved in Meaux Abbey Farm (TA 0965 4060). The cloister measures 37m by 34m on the ground; its eastern range is known to have housed a library of over 300 books. To the East of the claustral buildings other earthworks have been identified as the remains of the infirmary, chapel and hall. Attached to the infirmary hall was a wing built by the 13th abbot for his retirement. To the East of this wing are the grassed over footings of a brick hall measuring 19m by 8m which is identified as the abbot's lodging.

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