Faversham Abbey

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King Stephen displays a model of Faversham Abbey, in a manuscript by Matthew Paris (British Library)
Engraving of Faversham Abbey, by William Stukeley, 1722

Faversham Abbey was a Cluny style monastery[1] immediately to the north-east of the town of Faversham in the county of Kent in England.

It was founded by King Stephen and his queen, Matilda I of Boulogne, in 1148.[2] A party of monks from Bermondsey Abbey provided the nucleus and the first abbot.

The Abbey was dissolved in 1538 and subsequently most of it was demolished. Much of the building material was removed by military engineers and transported by sea to France, where it was used to strengthen the fortifications of the towns in the Pale of Calais, which at the time was England's continental bridgehead.

Some of the domestic buildings remained in 1671, and about this time the refectory was dismantled and its timber re-used to create a long warehouse which still stands on Standard Quay nearby. Not long afterwards the final traces were removed and the exact site of the church was lost.

Among the few surviving buildings of Faversham Abbey are the two Barns at Abbey Farm. The smaller (Minor) Barn dates from 1425 and the larger (Major) Barn dates from 1476. In the farmyard of which they form part there are other listed buildings, including Abbey Farmhouse, part of which dates from the 14th century, and a small building which is thought to have been the Abbot’s stable.

Also surviving is the Abbey Guest House, on the east side of the Outer Gateway of the Abbey; now known as Arden's House. This house, now a private residence in Abbey Street, was the location of the infamous murder of Thomas Arden in 1551. Globe House opposite is thought to have been the Abbey steward's home.

The Abbey was the burial place of King Stephen of England, Queen Matilda, and their son Eustace IV of Boulogne. Their bones are said to have been thrown into the nearby Faversham Creek when the building was dismantled. Their empty graves were excavated in 1964 and were found to be close to the very centre of the choir. However in the Parish Church is a canopy tomb with no contemporary inscription, where it is said that their bones were re-interred.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Faversham Abbey". Catholic Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2007-02-18. 
  2. ^ "Faversham Abbey". Faversham.org. Retrieved 2007-02-18. 

Coordinates: 51°19′00″N 0°53′45″E / 51.31667°N 0.89583°E / 51.31667; 0.89583