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Abbey House, Cambridge


Abbey House and its garden were built in the late-16th and early-17th centuries on the site of Barnwell Priory, dissolved in 1550. Much of the original stonework from the priory was incorporated into the garden features.

In 1922 Arthur Askam, son of a Cambridge landlord, kept the garden in a good condition, and held country dancing for children on the lawns.

The drive, originally from Newmarket Road, has been sold and the entrance is now via Abbey Road. Towards the end of his life Askam let the grass grow tall and kept goats to maintain the lawns.

In the garden are numerous wrought stones, presumably from the Priory. They include parts of 12th-century mouldings, incorporated in two rustic arches, and a 13th-century stone base used as a capital. Elsewhere various moulded dressings are built into the wall and flanking the entrance gateway are two medieval carved heads.

Today there are drifts of spring bulbs beneath the trees, which frame views of the Church of St. Andrew the Less, and the Cellarer's Chequer which is all that remains of the Priory.


Abbey House was built in the late-16th and 17th-centuries to the south-west of the site of Barnwell Priory, which had been dissolved in 1550. The garden boundary wall running to the north-east is probably part of the precinct wall of the priory.

Key Information





Principal Building