Basingwerk Abbey

Holywell, United Kingdom

Basingwerk Abbey abbey was founded in 1132 by Ranulf de Gernon, 4th Earl of Chester, who had already brought Benedictine monks from Savigny Abbey in southern Normandy. Likely the first location of the abbey was not at the current location at Greenfields but at the nearby Hen Blas. The abbey became part of the Cistercian Order in 1147.

The abbey had significant lands in the English county of Derbyshire. Henry II gave the monks a manor near Glossop. The Monks' Road and the Abbot's Chair near the town are a reminder of the Abbey's efforts to administer their possession. In 1290 the Abbey gained a market charter for Glossop. The monks also got another charter for nearby Charlesworth in 1328.

By the 13th century, the abbey was under the patronage of Llywelyn the Great, Prince of Gwynedd. His son Dafydd ap Llywelyn gave St Winefride's Well to the abbey. The monks harnessed the power of the Holywell stream to run a corn mill and to treat the wool from their sheep. In 1433, the monks leased all of Glossopdale in Derbyshire to the Talbot family, the future Earls of Shrewsbury (1442).

In 1536, abbey life came to an end with the Dissolution of the Monasteries during the reign of Henry VIII. Its dissolution was made lawful by the Dissolution of the Lesser Monasteries Act and the lands of the abbey were granted to lay owners.

The abbey ruins are part of Greenfield Valley Heritage Park, and are managed by Cadw. The abbey marks the starting point of the North Wales Pilgrims Way.


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Founded: 1132
Category: Religious sites in United Kingdom


4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Dave Leach (12 months ago)
Nice set of remains from what you can tell was once an impressive place.
Shox Wake (2 years ago)
Nice place to have a walk or picnic, a site with a long history. Whilst the abbey is ruined there is plenty intact, enough to get a good idea of the layout of the building when it was in use. there are a few plaques around the site with some of the history details on overall a good free to visit site
Pete / Hel Havard (2 years ago)
If you're interested in history then it's worth a visit. We liked it, you just have to do some research, great for walking with the dog ? as well.
Grace Francis (5 years ago)
Lovely ruins, seem in good order, and nice to walk around if you're interested in medieval history and buildings. Free to access. Not well signposted, I only knew about it through the Cadw website and didn't see signs on the road I came by, but it is only small. There is a visitor centre for the area and cafe nearby, though I didn't use them myself.
Tasmin Parry (5 years ago)
Great place for walks, there are lovely wooded areas that are well maintained, lots of historical buildings to learn about at Greenfield Valley Heritage Park not just the abbey. For dog walkers, you can go off lead (responsibly) and there is also plenty of dog bins provided. Shop and cafe facilities available.
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