The Abbey 6920

Eye, England, Suffolk, Mid Suffolk

Brief Description

The Abbey has a landscaped garden with herbaceous borders and beds. There is a vegetable area and specialist plants include irises, roses and pelargoniums. The chief standing features are the remains of the Priory of St Peter, founded as a Benedictine monastery in 1080, dissolved in 1537, and excavated in 1926 to ascertain that the claustral buildings were the exact replica of the Priory in Bernay, Normandy. The archaeological remains form mounds and some standing structures conserved within the garden. There are two glasshouses and, to the east of the house, a short length of crinkle crankle wall.

History

The garden must have formed part of the grounds surrounding the Priory of St Peter, founded in 1080 by Robert Malet. Remains of the church and cloisters form mounds and features within the garden. To the north of the site lie the fish ponds, at one time in the ownership of the Abbey. To the north west lie the bakehouse and brewery buildings, not now within the ownership of Eye Abbey. The Priory was dissolved in 1537 and granted to Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk and Lord of the Honour of Eye. The present house is based upon the Prior's Lodgings and is listed grade II*. The original monastic walk around the church is still visible as a sunken path.

Visitor Facilities

Access by appointment only. Please see the website for information about visiting and tours.

Detailed Description

The present garden is landscaped with trees, including yews, herbaceous borders, a gravel area and raised beds. There is a vegetable garden, surrounded by trellis and roses, lawn, specialist plantings of pelargoniums, irises and climbing and informal rose planting. Kate's inspiration for the iris garden was started off by winning a bunch of irises at a Red Cross Open Garden Day at Cedric Morris' garden, Benton End.

The original site of the church altar is marked by a trellised walkway and seating. The archaeological site forms mounds and some standing structures within the garden. There are substantial standing remains to the immediate east of the house covered by clematis and roses. The original monastic walkway around the church is still visible as a sunken pathway. Also to the east of the house is a short length of crinkle crankle wall.

There are two greenhouses, housing succulents, and the studio of Peter Campbell, well-known artist, is to the rear of the house.

Features

Style

  • Gardenesque
  • Religious, Ritual And Funerary Features
  • Description: The remains of the Benedictine priory church and claustral buildings forms standing remains and mounds within the garden.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
Access & Directions

Access Contact Details

Access by appointment only. Please see the website for information about visiting and tours.

Directions

From Eye take the B1117 towards Stradbroke. The Abbey is just past the parish church on the left hand side of the road.
Authorities

Civil Parish

  • Eye
History

Detailed History

The Abbey, Eye, was originally founded as a Benedictine monastery by Robert Malet, a Norman baron, in 1080.

The Priory was dissolved in 1537 and granted to Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk and Lord of the Honour of Eye. The remains of the Prior's Lodgings were converted into a domestic residence and later it was likely to have been used by the Steward of the Honour of Eye. The 18th century brick facade hides the medieval Caen stone and timber building (listed grade II*). In 1538 Charles Brandon sold Eye Priory and the Honour of Eye back to the Crown and the site remained in royal hands throughout the Tudor period.

A series of fishponds to the north, originally belonging to the priory, but not in the ownership of the current owner, still survive. Also to the north-west of the house the original brick-built bake house and brewery still survive, now being conserved (2009).

The site of the Priory was excavated in 1926 and revealed that the church and claustral buildings were an exact replica of the priory in Bernay, Normandy. The priory church lay to the south east of the present house, under the garden. The original monastic walk beside the church is still visible as a sunken path.

The house and garden were bought by Kate and Peter Campbell in 1970. Previously it had been a farmhouse and the garden was overgrown with nettles. The gardens were not formally planned but developed over time.

By 1650 a Parliamentary Survey shows that this complex was known as Eye Priory Manor, and later as Eye Hall. In 1701 the property was mentioned as Eye Abbey and some years later as Abbey Farm.

References

References