CROXDEN ABBEY, STAFFORDSHIRE

Grid Ref: SK 065 397
27 May 2003 & 24 May 2004

Abbey spacer Plan
Croxden Abbey from St. Giles churchyard      Plan of the Abbey with the west at the top and the chapter
house shown next to the south crossing
Crossing   West Front
The south crossing viewed from the cloisters to the South West   The West Front
Chapter House   Drains
The Chapter House lies south of the crossing   Evidence of drainage system in the east range
Infirmary   Coffin
One of three pairs of stone table rests in the infirmary   One of several stone coffins near the east end
Nave of St. Giles   West End
The interior of St. Giles   West End of St. Giles

 

Croxden Abbey is a delightfully peaceful site in an idyllic rural setting, north of Uttoxeter. It was initially founded five miles away at Cotton in 1176 by Monks from the Savigniac abbey Aulnay-sur-Odon in Normandy. Three years later it was moved to Croxden and in 1181 was dedicated as the Abbey of the Vale of St. Mary of Croxden. The church was completed in the middle of the 13th century and consecrated in 1253. It became a Cistercian house and its wealth came from the wool trade. According to Pevsner, the abbey was founded by Bertram de Verdun in about 1176. The buildings date from c. 1179 to 1280. Thomas Chalner, the 26th Abbot was in charge, with 12 monks, when the abbey was dissolved in 1538.

The nave was 240 feet long but a road now runs diagonally across it from south east to north west. There was an apse at the east end containing an ambulatory. Off the ambulatory were five circular chapels, whose foundations are still visible. The two highest sections of masonry remaining are the west front with a door and three lancet windows and part of the south transept. There are also remains of the chapter house, cloisters, dortoir, infirmary and abbots' lodging.

The remains are now in the care of English Heritage.

The nearby church of St. Giles was built about 1884/5 to replace an earlier chapel in front of the gates to the abbey. It was constructed at the expense of the Earl of Macclesfield.

Sources:

The Buildings of England, Staffordshire, by Nikolaus Pevsner, Penguin, 1974, ISBN 0 14 071046 9.
History Time Lines
Panoramic views of Croxden Abbey can be seen on the BBC Website for Stoke and Staffordshire
The Heritage Trail
Croxden on Genuki Site. This small article comes from notes in History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire, by William White, published in Sheffield in 1851. It states that the founder was Bertram de Verdon from the Cistercian order and repeats the legend that the heart of King John was buried at the abbey. The article also gives details of two books on the abbey: The Abbey of St Mary, Croxden, Staffordshire, by Charles Lynam, published 1911, by Sprague & Co, London and Croxden Abbey, Its Buildings and History by Francis Aidan Hibbert, published 1912, by Spottiswoode & Co, Colchester.

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