Chapel at Bradwell Abbey
Bradwell Abbey shown within Buckinghamshire
|OS grid reference|
|Civil parish||Bradwell Abbey|
|Unitary authority||Milton Keynes|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Post town||MILTON KEYNES|
|EU Parliament||South East England|
|UK Parliament||Milton Keynes South|
Bradwell Abbey or Bradwell Priory is a Scheduled Ancient Monument, urban studies site, district and civil parish in Milton Keynes, ceremonial Buckinghamshire, England. The site was once the location of a Benedictine priory, founded in 1155.
Historic Bradwell Priory
The Priory was established around 1154. It grew during the Middle Ages to became an important local centre, but declined during the Black Death when, amongst others, its prior William of Loughton died. The Priory was closed in 1524 (some 12 years before the general dissolution of the monasteries) and the site of the monastery and its scanty revenues were granted to Cardinal Wolsey for the endowment of his new college. All that remains today is a small chapel and a farmhouse that has become a centre for cultural activities and an Urban Studies centre. The medieval trackways converging on the abbey can still be seen in the rights of way and bridleways that have become "redways" (leisure routes for cycling and walking).
The arrival of the West Coast Main Line railway split the Abbey lands, with Bradwell village to the east of the line and the Abbey to the west. Today, the small Bradwell Abbey district includes parkland and industry in its own right, and gives its name to the larger civil parish that includes it.
Bradwell Abbey today
Today, Bradwell Abbey is an Urban Studies Centre (the Milton Keynes City Discovery Centre), providing a base, library and guidance for visiting international town planners and students who wish to study Milton Keynes. It also hosts school visits to see its medieval buildings – the chapel is Grade I listed – and how they have changed since then, its fish ponds and its physic garden. Finally it provides meeting space to local community groups.
An annual music festival was started on the site in 1999. Performers have included Vikki Clayton in 1999, Joe Driscoll in 2005. In 2009 the festival dates were 26 and 27 June and acts performing included The Swanvesta Social Club
Bradwell Abbey district
The modern Bradwell Abbey district is a relatively small one, sandwiched as it is between the West Coast Main Line to the east, the A5 to the west, Monksway (A422) to the north and Dansteed Way to the south. It includes a small industrial estate and the Loughton Valley flood plain "linear park". The Swan's Way long distance path and the Sustrans route 51 follow the valley.
Formally, it is in the Bradwell grid-square, but this square is split into three parts by the railway line (on an embankment) and the A5 (in a cutting).
Bradwell Abbey gives its name to its civil parish, between the railway line to the east and V4 Watling Street to the west, H3 Monks Way to the north and H4 Dansteed Way to the south. This had a population of 6,544 according to the 2001 census, and includes the modern Bradwell Abbey district, Two Mile Ash, Stacey Bushes, Wymbush and Kiln Farm areas.
- Neighbourhood Statistics 2001 Census
- Markham, Sir Frank (1986) . History of Milton Keynes and District. White Crescent Press. pp. 105–108. ISBN 0-900804-29-7.
- 'Houses of Benedictine monks: The priory of Bradwell' – Victoria History of the Counties of England, A History of the County of Buckingham: Volume 1 (1905), pp. 350–352. Date accessed: 22 September 2009.
- Details from listed building database (45807) . Images of England. English Heritage.
- "The architectural secrets of Milton Keynes" – BBC (with audio content)
- Places to go: Bradwell Abbey and City Discovery Centre
- The history of Bradwell Abbey – City Discovery Centre
- Bradwell Abbey Parish Council
- Milton Keynes City Discovery Centre (Urban Studies educational centre).
- Togfest Music Festival
- 'Parishes : Bradwell' – Victoria History of the Counties of England, A History of the County of Buckingham: Volume 4 (1927), pp. 283–288. (includes Bradwell Abbey and a history of its parish).
- A short video tour of the Abbey today and an virtual tour of the Abbey in its heyday – Milton Keynes City Discovery Centre
Media related to Bradwell Abbey at Wikimedia Commons