Calwich Abbey 4798

East Staffordshire, England, Staffordshire, East Staffordshire

Brief Description

There is a small house, dating from 1849, standing on the site of a derelict medieval priory. The gardens comprise pleasure grounds (now overgrown), an artificial lake, and a late-18th-century temple.


A 12th-century Augustinian Abbey eventually passed into secular ownership, and the estate soon became an important political seat.

Detailed Description

Today, the medieval priory is derelict, but a small historic house still stands, dating back to 1849. This is listed by English Heritage as Grade II. Also Grade II-listed are a number of farm buildings, stables, a coach house, and gate piers.

The gardens incorporate dense, extensive pleasure ground planting. This features purple-leaved trees and other ornamentals. The area is today unmanaged and overgrown. To the south, the river has been dammed to form a large lake, and a late-18th-century temple stands on the waterside. The temple is Grade II* listed, and a bridge and boathouse are Grade II listed.

  • House (featured building)
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
Temple, Ornamental Lake, Stable Block, Gate Piers

Civil Parish

  • Ellastone

Detailed History

The village of Ellastone dates back to the Anglo-Saxon period, and is mentioned in the Domesday Book (listed as Edelachestone, Elachestone and Princestone). The ruins of Calwich Abbey are close to Ellastone village, lying within the parish. The Augustinian abbey was first built on the site in AD 1148, originally as a cell of Kenilworth Priory. Its fortunes faded in the 16th century, and it had been dissolved by 1532. The entire property was then given over to secular authority, and the Fleetwoods (owners of the estate from about 1543) are known to have used the monastic house itself as a residence.

In 1611, James I instituted the Baronetcy of Fleetwood of Calwich, for Richard Fleetwood (High Sherriff of Staffordhsire, and builder of the nearby Wooton Lodge). The Baronetcy survived until 1780.

In 1842, the estate was purchased by the Hon and Reverend Augustus Duncombe, and it remains as the Duncombe family seat to this day. The Duncombes built a new hall in 1848, but this was demolished in 1935, and all that remains of it today is the stableblock.

Calwich Abbey is distinguished by several visits from the composer George Frideric Handel.


  • 18th Century