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BAYHAM OLD ABBEY

ALTERNATIVE NAME:  BAYHAM ABBEY
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The ruins of Bayham Abbey, a Premonstratensian Abbey, founded circa 1207. It was established from the union between the two Premonstratensian abbeys of Otham (Sussex) and Brockley (Kent). Excavations carried out in 1973-6 have indicated the building sequence of the abbey. The main monastic buildings date to the 13th century and the church was extended in the late 13th century. The gatehouse was added in the 14th century. In 1525, the abbey was dissolved by Cardinal Wolsey to create funds for Wolsey's college foundations at Oxford and Ipswich. Around 1800, the ruins were incorporated as features into a romanticized landscape based on the ideas of the architect William Wilkins and landscape designer Humphrey Repton.

A number of monastic remains have survived as ruins including parts of the church, cloister, chapter house, dormitory and gatehouse. There are remains of other buildings associated with the abbey including the infirmary, water-mill, brewhouse, bakehouse, barns, stables and stores. Nearby are remains of a mill-leat, fishponds and small agricultural plots which provided at least some of the produce necessary to support the monks.
The monastic boundary was defined by moats on three sides which helped to drain the Abbey's grounds at the same time as defining its extent. The western side of the precinct was formed by a bank and ditch.

The abbey ruins is under the guardianship of English Heritage and is open to the public.

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