“ Bayham Old Abbey / Frant / East Sussex „
As a King of England, Henry VIII is famous for his numerous marriages and his untrammelled power. During his reign he established the Church of England, united England and Wales, and disbanded the monasteries. As a consequence of this dissolution of the monasteries the vast majority of them in England, Ireland and Wales were abandoned and left to ruin. Bayham Abbey was one of them.
Brief information about Bayham Abbey:
Bayham Abbey was built in the first half of the 13th century. In the 15th century it was enlarged with new transepts. When the dissolution of the monasteries occurred the abbey was amongst the first to be dissolved. Following various changes in ownership Bayham Abbey was sold to Sir John Pratt in 1714. It was donated to the English Heritage in 1961 by his descendents.
Bayham Abbey is located between Royal Tunbridge Wells and Lamberhurst; on the border between Kent and East Sussex, England. You can drive your car to get Bayham Abbey. There is a small parking area which is only 25m from the entrance. It's also accessible by train or by bus.
What to see at Bayham Abbey:
First are the ruins of the abbey itself. You can make out the original structure from the partial remains of the stone walls. They were built using the local sandstone which carves into fine details and weathers well. The south wall of the nave stands at almost its original height. You can also see the outlines of the infirmary, backhouses and stables, which have been swept away in subsequent landscaping. There also remains one of the 14th century gatehouses covering the road to the north.
The second place to see is Bayham Abbey Dower House. It was originally built by Sir John Pratt about 1752. Between 1799 and 1814 it was enlarged. In 1870 a new mansion was built adjacent to the house and thus the building became its dower house. Recently it has been restored to its early 19th century appearance. The details of the house are very much in the gothic style. In the library and the drawing room you can see some original features including the cornice and chair rail.
Opening times and price:
Bayham Abbey is open daily from 11am to 5pm between 1 April and 30 September. Currently the admissions are £4.30 for adult and £2.60 for child. As it is the English Heritage property, it's free for English Heritage members.
Bayham Abbey is impressive ruins that include much of the 13th to 15th-century church. It connects the history of Dissolution of the Monasteries and King Henry VIII.
Nearby Bayham Abbey you can also visit 1066 Battle of Hastings, Abbey and Battlefield, in which the Battle of Hastings took place in 1066 and changed the course of English history; and Pevensey Castle where William the Conqueror landed when he invaded England.
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