© Lloyd Blackburn  2002-2019

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Beeleigh, Beeleigh Abbey & Beeleigh Weir 

 

Beeleigh Abbey was originally a daughter of Newham Abbey in Lincolnshire, established at the instigation of Robert Mantell, lord of the manor of Little Maldon. The abbey obtained a royal charter from Richard I in 1189.The heart of Saint Roger Niger of Beeleigh (a thirteenth century Bishop of London) was buried at Beeleigh and the abbey became a pilgrimage site. In 1289, pilgrims included King Edward I and Queen Eleanor. After the dissolution of the monasteries, many of the abbey buildings were pulled down. In 1540, Henry VIII granted the abbey and lands to Sir John Gate, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.

 

Thirty years after the land was given away there was an extension added to the abbey of a farmhouse. During the 18th century, the building was used as a public house. By the late 19th century, the buildings were in a ruinous condition, but in 1912, restoration was begun by Captain F. W. Grantham. In 1943, the Abbey was purchased by William Foyle, owner of Foyle’s bookshop. The abbey is now a private residence and is not generally open to the public, but small private groups can be shown around it by prior arrangement on specific dates, through "Invitation to View".  

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