Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A is for Abbey

I have finally got around to editing the photos for my A-Z photo journal. I took these about 3 weeks ago.

The following text comes from the sign which is shown here

Chatteris Abbey was founded by Bishop Aednoth of Dorchester (previously Abbot of Ramsey) between 1007 and 1016. His sister, Aelfwen became the first Abbess. The Abbots of Ely and Ramsey gifted two Chatteris manors to the Abbey in 1086. At first the Abbey was relatively poor because it lacked a royal founder. It is the poorest of the eight nunneries mentioned in the Domesday Book. Even so, abbey lands became sufficiently widespread during the 12th and 13th centuries to need three manorial courts, Chatteris, Foxton and Barley. The courts employed estate managers, stewards, bailiffs and rent collectors. Income also came from churches, tithes and legacies. Gifts, for example 'a weight of cheese', w6ne part ,of the conditions of entry for a novice. Transportation of goods such as grain from the Abbey's mills was often by boat. By 1535 the Abbey was valued at £97.3s.4d.

Henry I gave the Bishop of Ely rights over the Abbey in the early 12th century. Succeeding bishops exercised their spiritual authority over the nunnery by overseeing the election of professing nuns and abbesses.

The island settlement of Caeteric (Ceto - a wood and Ric - a river) already existed when the Abbey was founded near the centre. The additional economic activity encouraged the development of the village. The Abbey building would have contained bedchambers for the residents and guests, a dormitory, cellarer's room, three butteries, a bake house, a brew house, kitchen, hall, frater, fish house, granary, barns, chapter house and infirmary. There would also have been carts, farm implements and livestock. The Abbey Church had a choir, two aisles, a vestry and a steeple. It was probably called St Mary's and the townspeople used the south aisle. Sometime between 1306 and 1310 a fire destroyed the Church and manorial goods stored there. It was rebuilt and consecrated in 1352. There were eleven nuns, including the Abbess, when the Abbey was dissolved in 1538.

Some buildings were converted into Park House, which the Gascoyne family acquired and extended in the 17th century. In the mid 18th century the fish house and granary were still intact. However, by 1819 only a few walls remained and Park House was demolished in 1847. Walls marked on the Ordnance Survey map are not original, but were built of ragstone and quoins from the ruins.

Original stones are incorporated into buildings in London Road and the sidewall of 24 Victoria Street.


Information from Chatteris museum says that Park House fell into disrepair early in the 19th century and was finally demolished in 1847. The house was last lived in by the Seymour family, the stone was used to build Seymour Place in London Road.

The "Chatteris Town Walk" leaflet also tells you that some of the stones are built into this gateway.


  1. More interesting facts and pictures.
    How's your exhibition pieces coming along- I would love to see it. I love textile art.

  2. Anonymous5:47 pm

    You said about the sidewall of 24 Victoria Street, well may I say some of that wall has been knocked down....


All genuine comments welcome but please don't spam. All comments are moderated and anything I consider spam is deleted.