The Abbey here was founded by Peter des Roches, Bishop of Winchester around the year 1232. It was the last Premonstratensian house founded in Britain. A rumour says that Richard II nearly drowned here when the pond overflowed. There are also stories that Margaret of Anjou was presented with a live lion at the Abbey on the occasion of her marriage to Henry VI.
Immediately after the Dissolution the Abbey was sold to the Earl of Southampton who, between 1537 and 1542 built a mansion around the Abbey buildings. His gatehouse which is the major surviving remnant was built into the nave of the Abbey Church. Charles I spent his last night of freedom in the building in 1647 before his long internment in Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight and his eventual execution.
The house, then known as Place House, was demolished in 1781 save for the Gatehouse and a few other remnants. All are now owned by English Heritage and cost nothing to visit.
Photo - Andrew J. Müller
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