World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Wardon Abbey

Article Id: WHEBN0017679802
Reproduction Date:

Title: Wardon Abbey  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Rievaulx Abbey, Old Warden, Falkes de Breauté, Bishop of Connor
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Wardon Abbey

Wardon Abbey
Monastery information
Full name Abbey Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Old Warden
Other names Warden Abbey
Order Cistercian
Established 1135
Disestablished 1537
Location Old Warden, Bedfordshire, England

52°04′53″N 0°21′48″W / 52.081389°N 0.363333°W / 52.081389; -0.363333Coordinates: 52°04′53″N 0°21′48″W / 52.081389°N 0.363333°W / 52.081389; -0.363333

Wardon or Warden Abbey, Bedfordshire was one of the senior Cistercian houses of England, founded about 1135 from Rievaulx Abbey.[1][2] It is a Grade I listed building.


The patron was Walter Espec, who had founded the mother house and settled the new community on one of his inherited estates, on unprofitable wasteland, as its early name, St Mary de Sartis, implied,[3] just the kind of remote, uninhabited sites specified by the founders of the Cistercian order. The first abbot, Simon, was a pupil of Aeldred, Abbot of Rievaulx. The success of the abbey may be inferred from the foundation of a daughter house, Sibton Abbey, Suffolk, as soon as 1150.[4] The village of Old Warden, Bedfordshire grew up under the Abbey's protection. Great accumulated Cistercian wealth enabled Wardon Abbey to be rebuilt on a grand scale in the early fourteenth century, with complex tiling in carpet-patterns and pictorial vignettes pieced together in shaped tiles that approached a boldly scaled mosaic.[5] Gilding of the carved details was so lavishly laid on that in 1848, after demolition and burial, recovered fragments retained their brightness.[6] By 1252 the monks had more land under cultivation than they could work by their own labour in the early Cistercian way: nineteen granges were recorded in that year. From the orchards at Wardon came the Warden pear, rated the best of English pears, and so distinctive that a pie made from them was a "wardon pie": "I must have Saffron to colour the Warden Pies" (Shakespeare, The Winter's Tale iv.3). In Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books, edited by Thomas Austin for the Early English Text Society (Original Series, Volume 91), a recipe is given (p. 51) for Quyncis or Wardouns in past.

The later fourteenth century was a period of retrenchment and decline, in the wake of the Black Death. Wardon Abbey was dissolved in 1537 under Henry VIII, and the estate was sold for £389 16s 6d. The new owner demolished most of the buildings in 1552 to sell the materials, and then built a new red brick mansion, bearing the name Warden Abbey House. Later in 1790, the remaining part of this Tudor house was pulled down by its owners, the Whitbreads of nearby Southill,[7] leaving only a north-east wing, which still stands today. The Landmark Trust rescued the building from dereliction in 1974 and renovated it in exchange for a long lease; it can now be rented for holidays.[8]

Gallery of tiling from Warden Abbey on display in Bedford Museum

See also


This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.