HISTORICAL SOCIETY
GARDEN PARTY 2012
BEDFIELD HALL VISIT
KIRSTEAD HALL, NORWICH
FRINTON STATION HOUSE
BOURNE MILL VISIT
CHRISTMAS MEETING 2009
PROGRAMME 2009-10
VISIT COGGESHALL ABBEY
QUIZ NIGHT 2008
2007 GET TOGETHER
CHRISTMAS PARTY 2006
DEENE PARK VISIT
WAR EXHIBITION 2005
VISIT MELFORD HALL
VISIT PAYCOCKES HOUSE
VISIT TO LAVENHAM
EXHIBITION 2004
CHRISTMAS PARTY 2003
CHRISTMAS PARTY 2001
VISIT TO WISBECH
VILLAGE WALKS
PRIORY EXHIBITION -01
CHRISTMAS PARTY 2000
COFFEE MORNING


VISIT TO COGGESHALL ABBEY
And guided tour for members


St Osyth Historical Society paid a visit to Coggeshall Abbey on July 19 2008 organised for members by Joy Clinton. Since a number of members had previously paid private visits, only 14 members attended. The party had a guided tour of the Abbey conducted by the owner himself, Mr Roger Hadlee, whose wife greeted the visitors with tea, coffee and shortbreads!

The Abbey was founded by an obscure order of Savigniac monks in 1140. Queen Matilda the wife of King Stephen, gave them the Manor House to found the order in England, but following the Savigniac Order being absorbed by the Cistercian Order the Abbey became a Cistercian monastery in 1147. It remained in their ownership until the dissolution of the monasteries under King Henry VIII in 1538 when the Abbey was largely demolished.
The Cistercians were known as hard workers and built their monastic building with rubble and flint stone, but more importantly with bricks, which they made themselves. This Abbey remains are the only example of a building of its kind built with brick, which was then faced with what today we would call a cement render to cover the mixtures of material underneath.
Much of the material used to build the Abbey has found its way into other local buildings, when following its destruction, anything useful was used elsewhere. The remains of the Abbey site were bought by Sir Thomas Seymour, father of Jane Seymour, wife of King Henry.
In 1581 the Paycocke family became involved when they bought the property and built on the site of the old infirmary what became a new east wing of the present day Abbey House.

A pleasant country garden greets one when leaving the house. On the left is part of the old cloister linking the monk’s house to the chapel.


Inside the old gate chapel, now just a skeleton and used as a store for many years


Sitting on a stone seat in an alcove niche where monks would pray whilst reading their office


Alan and Joy Clinton looking at the outside of the chapel, which disguises the poor state of the interior


Looking along the cloister which was used to link together the refectory or dining area to the Chapter House.

This is the main Chapel where at the far end is the altar place and a niche on the wall where a crucifix used to hang. At the far end on the left hand side is the entrance to the Abbots quarters. This gave the Abbot immediate access to the Chapel whatever the weather.


The Abbotts quarters, referred to above. You will observe the same roof beams and trusses which were put in place by the Paycocke family partial restoration, over a number of generations.


This surviving St. Nicholas' Chapel continues to this day to have services held once per month and we understand with quite a good congregation. The Church has been restored over the years at considerable expense.


A short walk to see the Abbey Mill which is no longer part of the Abbey complex but is in other private ownership.


A narrow bridge crosses the Mill stream. Above, Joy Clinton our outing organiser (right) crosses with her husband.

The Abbey Mill in the background is a type known as a 'breast-shot' water wheel. It was in working condition and in commercial use post war. It was built on the site where once stood a mediaeval mill and was built around the mid 1700's for 'silk throwing' before being converted a century later to grind corn. It is a private residence not open to the public.
The exterior of the buildings contain many unusual features. It appears that almost any material was used except stone, because there is no natural building stone in Essex. The special bricks made by the monks, who brought the brick making technique over with them from France, were used to hold back the infill and the whole then covered with a lime mortar render to hide everything beneath.


The buildings include a number of 16th century chimney stacks. These chimneys are typical of many Tudor buildings around the country and are still standing tall after 500 years!


The owner Mr Hadlee is sitting on his ornately carved four poster bed in his own bedroom to explain the visiting party the condition of various rooms and what needs to be done.

He is a collector of old furniture and here is one example of a carved chest. As we walked around we came across many examples of the furniture makers craft, from wall screens to cabinets to chests to beds, but these of course are not part of Abbey, but the imported possessions of the owner.


The Grange Barn is a 12th century barn in the ownership of National Trust. It was part of the original Abbey. It was completely rebuilt sometime in the thirteen hundreds and is over 130 feet long. Quite an impressive sight. Unfortunately on the day we visited it was closed.

This was a good Society visit, made so much better by the owner Mr Roger Hadlee’s guided tour of a property he clearly cares so much for. No passage way was marked no entry, no part of any building was closed to us! Our thanks to him.

22/7/08


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