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Battle Abbey

Battle Abbey

Artist: Buckler, William

Medium: Watercolour

Date: 1850

Shelfmark: Additional MS 37120

Item number: f.6

Length: 30.3

Width: 42.4

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Topographical Drawing

William the Conqueror founded Battle Abbey on the site of the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Building began the following year and continued for the next thirty years or so.

Originally intended to house 140 Benedictine monks, the Abbey never had more that 60 in residence at a time. The Abbey buildings were based around a large quadrangle and the circuit around them measured about one mile.

The "Roll of Battle Abbey", a list of names of all those who accompanied William from Normandy to England, was kept in the Abbey. Fraudulent additions were made to the list over the years, thus making it unreliable as a historical document.

When Henry VIII closed down the monasteries in 1539, the Abbey had 17 monks in residence and an annual income of about £987 (about £10,000 today). Sir Anthony Browne then took over the site, pulled down the Abbey and built a mansion house in its place. However, he kept the entrance gate, as seen in this drawing, from the original building.

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