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Calwich Abbey

Introduction

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.

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.

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts

Owners

The Duncombe family

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.

Period

18th Century (1701 to 1800)

Features & Designations

Designations

  • The National Heritage List for England: Listed Building

  • Reference: A number of farm buildings, stables, a coach house, and gate piers.
  • Grade: II
  • The National Heritage List for England: Listed Building

  • Reference: Calwich Abbey: the house
  • Grade: II
  • The National Heritage List for England: Listed Building

  • Reference: Temple
  • Grade: II*

Features

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

Type

Estate

Purpose

Ornamental

Principal Building

Heritage Site

Period

18th Century (1701 to 1800)

Survival

Extant

Open to the public

Yes

Civil Parish

Ellastone

References

References