Bayham Abbey in Sussex was placed in State Guardianship in 1961 and excavated through the 1970s. S.E. Rigold prepared the first official guidebook for the DOE in 1974; it was republished as a English Heritage Handbook (note, not ‘guidebook’), and still in the familiar blue cover, by the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England. The format follows the familiar pattern of History followed by description. There is a site plan in text (p. 12). Black and white photographs appear through the text. A glossary is printed inside the back cover.
The abbey was of the Premonstratensian order and had been founded by 1211.
The guidebook was reprinted (with a colour cover) in 2004 as an English Heritage guide.
English Heritage was launched in April 1984. The new guidebook series appeared with a red masthead and a picture of the site on the cover (see, for example, Corbridge). However the first guides (known as ‘Handbooks’) continued the tradition of the Ministry of Works / MPBW / Department of Environment ‘blue guides’. Take, for example, the guide to Ashby de la Zouch Castle in Leicestershire by T. L. Jones. It was first published as a Department of the Environment blue guide in 1980, and then republished in 1984 for the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England. The title page also included the new English Heritage logo (including the ‘keep’). The Ashby de la Zouch guide has a plan of the site printed inside the rear cover.