Leiston Abbey (2)

Posted: March 26, 2015 in History, Post medieval history, Suffolk, UK
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Leiston Abbey in the 14th and 15th centuries would have been only one of many similar monastic houses which frequented the country-side of England. What is probably most remarkable about this site is the remains which depict how the Abbey was used after the suppresion of the Monasteries.

In 1530 the Abbot and the monks at Leiston were evicted from the Abbey and the property was given to the Duke of Suffolk who turned it into a Farm. He used some of the original walls to build a farmhouse and converted the Abbey Church into a barn.

Farmhouse incorporating walls from Abbey buildings

Farmhouse incorporating walls from Abbey buildings

farmhouse built into Abbey remains

farmhouse built into Abbey remains

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In the 16th century a new gatehouse was added.

Remains of 16th century Gatehouse

Remains of 16th century Gatehouse

Artist's impression of buildings during the 16th century

Artist’s impression of buildings during the 16th century

Further changes were made during the Georgian period, although generally the remains of the Abbey and its church were not maintained.

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In 1918 the site was bought by Ellen Wrightson, who restored the Lady Chapel as a place of prayer, and between the wars retreats were conducted there. On her death in 1946 the property passed to the Diocese of St. Edmundsbury and Ipswich. The Ministry of Public Building and Works assumed custody of the ruins in 1964 (now managed by English Heritage). The retreat house was purchased by the Pro Corda Trust in 1977. Pro Corda is a UK youth music organisation providing a continuous and progressive programme of education through the medium of chamber music and ensemble training to young people aged 5 to 24. The site is also now managed as a Wedding and events venue.

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