SP2872 : Kenilworth Abbey, The Barn

taken 7 years ago, near to Kenilworth, Warwickshire, Great Britain

Kenilworth Abbey, The Barn
Kenilworth Abbey, The Barn
The great mediæval abbey of St Mary once dominated the land now known as Abbey Fields.

Kenilworth Priory was founded in the early 12th century, at about the same time as the nearby SP2772 : Kenilworth Castle. It was dedicated to St Mary and was a house of the Augustinian order of canons. In 1447 the importance of the Priory was recognised by the Pope who raised it to the status of Abbey. The Abbey survived until 1538 when it became a victim of Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries. Most of the buildings were dismantled and used to repair or construct other buildings in the town (including the castle).

By the turn of the 18th century the only useable buildings remaining were the gatehouse and this one, which later became known as "The Barn" and now hosts a small exhibition.
Abbey Fields, Kenilworth
Abbey Fields is a public open space in the heart of Kenilworth. The ground slopes steeply down from the north and south to the Finham Brook, alongside which a shallow lake has been created on the site of the abbey's original fishponds. Recreational facilities include an open air swimming pool, tennis courts and children's playground.

The Fields were the site of the Abbey of St Mary, founded around 1119 for Augustinian Canons and closed by King Henry VIII's dissolution in 1538. By 1600, most of the abbey’s buildings had been dismantled, although some parts survive today both above and below ground, including the 14th century sandstone Barn, which is now home to the town’s museum, maintained by the Kenilworth History and Archaeology Society and open on summer Sunday and Bank Holiday afternoons.

In the 19th century, the Fields formed part of the estate of the Earls of Clarendon who also owned Kenilworth Castle. The land was put up for sale in 1884, and the central part of the Fields was bought by the Kenilworth Local Board (the forerunner to the District Council). The land was conveyed with a covenant that “said pieces of land may forever hereinafter be used as public walks or pleasure grounds, under the Recreational Grounds Act 1859”. As the Board couldn’t find the finance needed for the purchase of the rest of the land, it was acquired by a few eminent townspeople who developed some of the edges for housing but gifted the rest to the town.

Today the Fields are maintained by Warwick District Council with help from The Friends of Abbey Fields. A covenant on one part of the land requires that it be kept ‘in its natural state as open grassland’, and this is generally the policy today- the Fields are not a conventional park, but a piece of countryside in the centre of the town.

Further details of the history and wildlife of the Fields can be found on the Friends of Abbey Fields website. LinkExternal link
Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   © Copyright David Dixon and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
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SP2872, 335 images   (more nearby )
Photographer
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Date Taken
Sunday, 7 August, 2011   (more nearby)
Submitted
Friday, 12 August, 2011
Geographical Context
Historic sites and artefacts  Religious sites  Derelict, Disused 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SP 2848 7232 [10m precision]
WGS84: 52:20.8930N 1:34.9997W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SP 2848 7231
View Direction
NORTH (about 0 degrees)
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Other Tags
12th Century  Twelfth Century  Augustinian  Priory  Abbey  Monastery 

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