Denny Abbey, Cambridgeshire, Upper Level

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This is the last post on this amazing building, Denny Abbey, visited 2016, and its really only, when you climb the stairs that you can really see what is left of the Templar Church.  We can now see the alterations that the Countess of Pembroke made, she was given Denny by King Edward III.  The Countess brought the Poor Clares, Franciscan nuns, here around 1339.  She made the original church into her own apartment, adding a floor, and then built a new church, a refectory (visited in a previous post) in 1330, a dormitory for 40 nuns, cloisters, and other buildings.  The Countess died in 1377 and was buried in the Abbey.  Life continued at the Abbey until the Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries in 1539 and two years later Denny Abbey closed.  The Abbey was sold and became a farm, the building was more like a house, after the alterations, so it was easy to just add an extension, change a few windows and plaster a few walls to hide the old church.  Look and see how small doors were made from large arches, what is left of windows and skeleton of the building….. is the Abbey, hidden for centuries, but still there.


A couple of examples of medieval graffiti that I found on the walls.

6 Replies to “Denny Abbey, Cambridgeshire, Upper Level”

  1. I love the faces peeking out and especially the graffiti. Three questions, what do you suppose the lion head figure represents? Also, you have mentioned the countess being buried at the abbey. Do they know where? And finally, do the archeologists have an interpretation of the graffiti? Thanks, for taking the time to keep us all informed on your travels.

    1. Alas the poor Countess got lost…..when Henry 8th decided to split from Rome, he had all of the monasteries and abbeys destroyed. The countess had been buried in the church she had built, when she made the old church into her house. So they torn down her church with her tomb inside and no one really knows what happened to her. Not sure about the ‘Lion Head’ it could have been something left from when the abbey had been a Knights Templar Church. The graffiti, well I can’t find out much about them, but some could be stone masons marks from when the building was built. The rest, people just like to leave a mark. In church porches, you find a lot of graffiti, marriages and baptisms were carried out in the porches rather than the main body of the church. But also, if people could not afford to get married, they would write their names and date in the plaster of the porch and became man and wife. Glad you have enjoyed the visit, Lynne 🙂

    1. Oh I expect the Lion could tell us a few tales, but it is a wonderful place to visit. I loved every minute of it, as you can tell by all the post I have done……ha ha I get too carried away some times 🙂

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