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Bayham Old Abbey (also known as Bayham Abbey Ruins)


The abbey ruins consist of the substantial remains of the 13th to 15th-century church, the 14th-century gatehouse and the chapter house. The old abbey is now within a landscape park laid out by Humphry Repton in 1799 (see the record for Bayham Abbey, also known as Bayham Hall).

The following is taken from the full Historic England entry in the Bayham Abbey record:



Bayham is situated c 1.5km east of Bells Yew Green village, on the north side of the B2169 which runs south-east from Tunbridge Wells to Lamberhurst. The 368ha site comprises c 14ha of formal and informal gardens around the house and 354ha of woodland, farmland, lakes and ponds, and the ruins of the abbey. It lies in the west to east valley of the River Teise, occupying the steep north- and south-facing valley slopes and the ridge crests above, the floor of the valley broadening into a more open landscape at the eastern end. The site is bounded along the south side by the B2169 and by a minor lane in the south-east corner but otherwise, its wooded and farmed slopes merge into a surrounding landscape of similar character. The Teise forms the administrative boundary between East Sussex and Kent, the site lying half in each county.


Bayham Abbey (listed grade II) stands towards the east end of the valley, on a level platform, halfway up the south-facing slope and with extensive views within and beyond the site both southwards and eastwards, the ruins of the former abbey forming the focus of the vista to the south-east.


J C Loudon, Encyclopaedia of Gardening (1822), p 1230

Country Life, 94 (1 October 1943), pp 596-9; (8 October 1943), pp 640-3

D Stroud, Humphry Repton (1962), pp 102, 124

J Newman, The Buildings of England: West Kent and the Weald (1969), p 139

P Carter et al, Humphry Repton (1982), p 155

Bayham Abbey, Draft Landscape Report, (Cobham Resource Consultants 1984)

Bayham Abbey, Historical Survey, (Land Use Consultants 1985)

Bayham Abbey, guidebook, (English Heritage 1985)

Inspector's Report: Bayham Abbey, (English Heritage 1988)


J Andrews, A Dury and W Herbert, A Topographical Map of the County of Kent, 2" to 1 mile, 1769

T Budgen, Bayham Estate, 8" to 1 mile, 1800 (reproduced in LUC 1985)

Farmland in Hand at Bayham from a Survey of Bayham Estates, 1815 (reproduced in LUC 1985)

Bayham Abbey, estate map, 4 chains to 1", c 1820 (reproduced in LUC 1985)

OS 6" to 1 mile: 1st edition surveyed 1873; 3rd edition published 1909; 1939 edition

OS 25" to 1 mile: 1st edition surveyed 1873 (Sussex portion only); 3rd edition published 1909; 1939 edition


James Lambert, watercolour, 1785 (British Library)

Archival items

Pratt MSS of the Bayham Estate (KAO U840), (Centre for Kentish Studies, Maidstone)

Humphry Repton, The Red Book for Bayham, 1800 (private collection)

Description written: April 1998

Amended: January 1999

Edited: October 2003

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts

Access contact details

The site is open daily from April to September, between 11 am and 5 pm.


Off the B2169, 1.75 miles west of Lamberhurst.


English Heritage (guardiandship site)


The following is taken from the full Historic England entry in the Bayham Abbey record:


Bayham Abbey was founded c 1200 as a house for monks of the Premonstratensian order, the first buildings probably being completed by 1211. The abbey was suppressed in 1525 by Cardinal Wolsey and the estates leased by Henry VIII to Anthony Browne, Lord Montague. In 1583, the Sussex portion was sold by Queen Elizabeth to two brothers called Adams who sold it on to a Mr Barham from whom it descended to another Browne family, apparently unconnected with Lord Montague. In 1714, Ambrose Browne sold the estate to Sir John Pratt, Chief Justice of the King's Bench, a younger son of whom became Lord Chancellor and later the first Earl Camden. Bayham passed from Sir John to his eldest son in 1724 and then to his grandson, another John, in about 1740, who extended and gothicised the present Dower House which was admired by Horace Walpole in 1752 (guidebook).

Associated People
Features & Designations


  • Abbey (featured building)
  • Earliest Date:
  • Church
  • Gatehouse
  • Parkland
Key Information



Principal Building

Religious Ritual And Funerary


Part: standing remains



Open to the public


Civil Parish