The first building on the site may have been a farmhouse built by Cistercian abbots of Forde Abbey around 1200. The current Gothic buildings are from the 1850s. In the 1920s it was bought and used unsuccessfully as a hotel. During World War II a boys' school was evacuated to Lee Abbey. After the war the dilapidated buildings were bought for use as a Christian retreat and extensive building work took place in the 1950s.
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- "History". Lee Abbey London. Retrieved 14 August 2016.