Leiston Abbey, Suffolk

Premonstratensian Monks

St. Mary’s Abbey was first founded in nearby Minsmere in 1182 by Ranulf de Glanville. Of this original only the Chapel now survives. In 1363 the Abbey transferred to this site in Leiston as a Premonstratensian foundation founded by the First Earl of Suffolk.

It survived as a small Abbey until 1536 when it fell to the Dissolution of the Monasteries. The land was sold to Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk. He had no particular interest in it and kept it as a tenanted farm. A Georgian frontage was added later to this farm house which was subsequently extended in the 1920s.

In 1928 the ruins were once again used as a religious retreat and in 1946 they passed to the Diocese of St. Edmundsbury. Today the Abbey ruins are owned by English Heritage whilst the later buildings are owned by the Pro Corda Music School.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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