Elstow Abbey was a monastery for Benedictine nuns in Elstow, Bedfordshire. It was founded in c.1075 by Judith Countess of Huntington, a niece of William the Conqueror and it is therefore classed as a Royal Foundation. The church is dedicated to St Mary and St Helen. The monastery closed in 1539 and the 23 nuns were pensioned off. Clearly they should have taken the matter to an industrial tribunal!!! Following the dissolution the majority of the church nave was blocked off and retained for parish use and the rest of the church was demolished after 1580. Sir Thomas Hillersdon purchased the remaining monastic buildings and incorporated them into a new house which itself later became a ruin. Three bays of the church are Norman, about 1075, and two western bays are Early-English style, about 1225. In 1539 during the suppression much was lost and in 1823-1838 restoration work was done. Around 1860 a vestry on the north side of the church was demolished. More restoration work was carried out by the architect Thomas Jobson Jackson from 1880-1882. In 1883 and 1885 the John Bunyan stained glass windows were added in the east wall. The church became a listed building on 13th July 1964.
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Photo taken in Elstow, UK
Misplaced? Suggest new location