Forde Abbey

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Forde Cistercian Abbey
Forde Abbey from the nearby road
Forde Abbey from the nearby road
location United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom England Dorset
Coordinates: 50 ° 50 '28 "  N , 3 ° 5' 23"  W Coordinates: 50 ° 50 '28 "  N , 3 ° 5' 23"  W.
Serial number
according to Janauschek
founding year 1141
Year of dissolution /
Mother monastery Waverley Abbey
Primary Abbey Citeaux monastery

Daughter monasteries

Bindon Abbey (1149)
Dunkeswell Abbey (1201)

Forde Abbey is a former abbey of the Cistercians in England . The monastery was near Thorncombe, southeast of Chard in Dorset .


After an attempt at founding in Brightley in Devon in 1136 had failed, Adelicia de Brioniis donated the mansion of Thorncombe on the banks of the River Ax to the Cistercian Order in 1141 . The monastery was a subsidiary of Waverley Abbey , the first Cistercian settlement in England, from the filiation of Cîteaux . The subsidiaries Bindon Abbey and Dunkeswell Abbey were founded by him. The monastery flourished quickly; its third abbot, Baldwin , became Archbishop of Canterbury , succeeded by John Devonius, confessor of King John . While the last abbot, Thomas Chard, was still carrying out restructuring measures, the monastery was dissolved in 1539. In the same year the Crown gave the abbey to Richard Pollard for the sum of 49 pounds. For the next hundred years the abbey was used as a quarry. In 1649 it was sold to Edmund Prideaux, who later became Oliver Cromwell's Advocate General . He had the abbey converted into a residential property. The '' Forde gardens '' were created under his heirs. In 1815 the abbey was leased to the philosopher Jeremy Bentham . In 1846 it was sold to a merchant named Miles, who let large parts of it deteriorate. The restoration of the abbey, which has been inhabited by the Roper family since 1905, only began after 1863 under the later owner, Bertram Evans.

Plant and buildings

Various parts of the former monastery buildings have been preserved in the existing complex, such as the Great Hall (formerly the refectory?), Part of the monks' dormitory, a wing of the cloister, the chapter house from the 12th century (today the chapel) and the lower church (today partly restaurant). The other rooms date from the post-monastery period.


  • Antony New: A guide to the abbeys of England and Wales. Constable and Company, London 1985, ISBN 0-09-463520-X , p. 179, with a plan.

Web links

Commons : Forde Abbey  - Collection of images, videos and audio files