Launde Abbey, south of Oakham in Leicestershire, was founded in 1119 as a priory for a group of Augustinian Black Canons. Over the century that followed it grew as buildings were added. It originally sat in a royal forest but in the 13th century, much of the surrounding land was cleared to create a deer park.
The priory was dissolved in the mid 16th century along with many other religious houses in England by act of Henry VIII. It was given to Gregory Cromwell, son of Thomas Cromwell, chief minister to King Henry. The Cromwell family lived here for about 60 years and restored and rebuilt many of the monastic buildings turning it into a domestic dwelling.
It then passed through a number of different families, most notably the Smiths in the 17th century, who pulled down many of the monastic buildings and built the manor house seen today.
Some elements of the history remain from before the 17th century. One part of the house dates back to the 1550s and the chapel is 12/13th century and was a side chapel of the original priory church.
In 1957 the house was presented to the Anglican Diocese of Leicestershire and is now used as a retreat and conference centre.