Launde Abbey, September 2013

  • Location:- Launde Abbey near Loddington 
  • Dates of site:– 12th and 16th Century
  • Site Type:- Ecclesiastical Site, Manor House
  • Themes:- Standing Building Archaeology
  • Website:- Launde Abbey Website and British History Online
  • Book:- Hughes, J. C., Launde Abbey: The Story of the Abbey

We visited Launde Abbey which is a big house which used to be a medieval priory. We split into groups and drew sketch plans of the house on graph paper – just pacing out the distances rather than using tapes. The results were very good when compared to the proper plans! We spotted the remaining bits of the priory (a great big arch) built into the later house and then went into the chapel. Finally, there was tea and cake – which was very good!

Photos of the day

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Photos taken by Alexander.

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Short History

Founded in 1152 by Richard Basset as an Augustinian Priory.  During the dissolution Thomas Cromwell kept Launde Priory for himself, however, he never lived in the house as he was executed for treason in 1540; during this year the construction of the Elizabethan House that we see today began.  His son George Cromwell lived there for 10 years with his wife Elizabeth Seymour (sister to Jayne Seymour Henry VIII 3rd wife).

The Chapel

The Chapel dates to the 12th & 13th Centuries, and is the only part of the house which is from the original Priory Church.  The Priory Church was knocked down mainly by Gregory Cromwell and his son, Henry, in the 1540’s and 1550’s.

Key Features

  • Stained glass windows — the three large windows above the altar and the small windows on the south side wall date to about 1435.
  • Monument to Gregory Cromwell dates to 1551 and an example of early English Renaissance sculpture.
  • English cubism paintings to the back of the chapel date to the 1950’s.


The Library (where we had our tea and cake)

The library dates around the 1550’s (bay window were added in the 1630’s). Thomas Rickman (1829 — 1839) took the paneling from another house to decorate the library. Three fire places were used to create the present fireplace — two stone and then the wooden surround. The carvings of the figures attached to the paneling are from north Germany and added in 19th century.

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