Bayham Abbey: Guidebook


1974 (1985)

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.

Titchfield Abbey: guidebook


1954 (repr. 1962)

The Premonstratensian abbey at Titchfield was founded from the foundation at Halesowen in Worcestershire after 1214. It was dissolved in 1537 and Thomas Wriothesley had the buildings adapted into a residence.

The ruins were acquired by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries c. 1914–18, and their responsibility fell to the H.M. Office of Works in 1923. The site is now in the care of English Heritage.

The guidebook was written by Rose Graham (History) and S.E. Rigold (description). It consists of 12 pages, and the centre pages include a plan of the abbey.  The original price was 4 d. (1962).

Easby Abbey: warning signs


Easby Abbey © David Gill

Modern visitors to Easby Abbey enter via the staircase into the west end of the refectory.


Easy Abbey, east end of the refectory © David Gill

The thirteenth-century doorway to the dorter carries another warning sign.


Easby Abbey, stairs to dorter © David Gill


Easby Abbey © David Gill


Easby Abbey © David Gill

A further warning sign is located near the chapter house on the east side of the cloister.


Easby Abbey © David Gill


Easby Abbey, chapter house © David Gill

Dryburgh Abbey: the dorter


Dryburgh Abbey © David Gill


Dryburgh Abbey, Dorter © David Gill

The dorter (or dormitory) at Dryburgh Abbey is located on the first floor on the east side of the cloister. It lay above the chapter house and the warming house.

In the 16th century a residence was constructed in the space above the chapter house.

The Ministry signs use the term ‘dormitory’ rather than the Latin ‘dorter’.


Dryburgh Abbey, east side of the cloister © David Gill

Remains of one of the windows of the dorter can still be seen.


Dryburgh Abbey © David Gill


Dryburgh Abbey © David Gill

It was accessed via the night stairs that lead into the south transept of the church.


Dryburgh Abbey © David Gill


Dryburgh Abbey, night stairs © David Gill

The day stairs were located on the south side of the chapter house.


Dryburgh Abbey © David Gill


Dryburgh Abbey, Day Stair © David Gill

Dryburgh Abbey: book cupboard


Dryburgh Abbey © David Gill

A book cupboard is located on the east side of the cloister at Dryburgh Abbey. It is adjacent into the main east processional doorway into the church, and on the other side the library and vestry.

J.S. Richardson (in the ‘Blue Guide’) noted: ‘Near the processional doorway is a wall-press or aumbry, once fitted with doors and shelves to contain the books used in the cloister’.


Dryburgh Abbey © David Gill


Dryburgh Abbey © David Gill


Guide to Scottish Border Abbeys


1964 (1973)

In 1964 an illustrated guide to Scottish Border Abbeys was prepared by George Scott-Moncrieff. This covered four abbeys in state guardianship:

  • Melrose Abbey (1919): Cistercian
  • Dryburgh Abbey (1919): Premonstratensian
  • Kelso Abbey: Tironensian
  • Jedburgh Abbey (1913): Augustinian

The guide contains details of each abbey, plans and photographs, as well as reconstructions by Alan Sorrell.


1932 (2nd ed. 1949, 6th impress. 1973)


Second edition 1948 (9th impression 1973)

At least two of the sites had earlier official guidebooks: Melrose Abbey (1932) and Dryburgh Abbey (1937). Kelso Abbey had a paper guide.

See also the illustrated guide to Monastic Sites in Yorkshire.

Whithorn: Bishops’ Graves


Whithorn © David Gill

A Premonstratensian community was established at Whithorn c. 1175. A cathedral was constructed at the site. Excavations during the late 1950s and 1960s discovered a group of graves near to the High Altar of the cathedral, and located within the vaults at the east end. It was presumed that these contained the remains of the bishops, and one of the graves contained the Whithorn Crozier.


Whithorn © David Gill


Whithorn © David Gill