Waverley Abbey

LOCATION

FARNHAM, SURREY

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Our View

Fragments of the church and monastic buildings of the first Cistercian abbey in England, founded in 1128. The impressive remains include the fine 13th-century vaulted refectory or dining hall for the lay brothers, the Cistercians' labour force. The abbey is set in a loop of the River Wey, which would have aided the monk's in their quest for solitude. In 1201 the abbey buildings were badly flooded. This became a common occurrence and as a result the abbey was substantially rebuilt during the 13th century. It continued to grow in the 14th century. The monks and lay brothers farmed the surrounding land, were active in the Cistercian wool trade and provided shelter for pilgrims and travellers and an infirmary for the sick. In 1536, with the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the site passed to Sir William Fitzherbert, treasurer of the king’s household. Much of the abbey was dismantled and some of the stone was reused to build Sir William More’s house at Loseley, a few miles to the east.

Waverley Abbey
FARNHAM

Features

Facilities
  • Parking nearby
Accessibility
  • Ruins are 350mtrs from car park across uneven turf
  • Facilities: Audio tour can be downloaded
Opening Times
  • Open all year
  • Opening Times: Open at any reasonable time during daylight hours

About The area

Discover Surrey

Surrey may be better known for its suburbia than its scenery, but the image is unjust. Over a quarter of the county’s landscapes are official Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and along the downs and the greensand ridge you can gaze to distant horizons with hardly a building in sight. This is one of England’s most wooded counties, and has more village greens than any other shire. You’ll find sandy tracks and cottage gardens, folded hillsides and welcoming village inns. There’s variety, too, as the fields and meadows of the east give way to the wooded downs and valleys west of the River Mole.

Of course there are also large built-up areas, mainly within and around the M25; but even here you can still find appealing visits and days out. On the fringe of Greater London you can picnic in Chaldon’s hay meadows, explore the wide open downs at Epsom, or drift idly beside the broad reaches of the stately River Thames. Deep in the Surrey countryside you’ll discover the Romans at Farley Heath, and mingle with the monks at England’s first Cistercian monastery. You’ll see buildings by great architects like Edwin Lutyens and Sir George Gilbert Scott, and meet authors too, from John Donne to Agatha Christie. 

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