Anglesey abbey


On a rather gloomy day in November we ventured out to Anglesey Abbey, a National Trust property located very close to Cambridge.  Despite the dire predictions of a rain front, we decided to risk a visit due to (a) the gift of a membership to the National Trust, and (b) the purchase of a new camera.  Due to his falling under the influence of the dark society known as UKAR (the Spanish Inquisition of aviation photography), Jason could no longer live without a digital SLR.  Unlike him, however, I am determined to use it for the occasional photo that ISN'T of an F-15, so thought we'd take it for it's first outing to Anglesey Abbey.  Unfortunately not a lot of preparation and education went on beforehand, so the photos aren't really indicative of what the camera can do.  Eventually, however, things ought to improve!  Anyhow, onwards.

Anglesey Abbey is known not only for it's house, the former Abbey itself, but also for it's gardens and a working mill.  On arrival visitors are directed to a path through the gardens.  At it's best in spring and summer, it also produces some nice scenery even in late Autumn.

This is the 'Quiet Room', featuring the cunningly named 'Boy With Raised Arms' statue.  The inscription on the plinth (sorry if that's not the right word!) is:


Which I'm sure none of you need me to translate for you  ;)  (Huttleston Broughton, later Lord Fairhaven, bought Anglesey Abbey in 1926). Here's a seat from which you can ponder the statue:

A bit further along the path is a gate with a view over the East Lawn:

A little further along the walk is a wooded area.  Luckily there was still a bit of sun around at this time, so some picturesque dappled areas popped up now and again:

And some trees still had nice Autumn colour on the branches:

Also in this wooded part of the garden was a grove of Silver Birch (Betula jacquemontii since I'm quoting Latin today!).  The only places I'd ever seen birch before had trees that were rather scrappy in terms of shape.  This, I assume, is because in Birch-y places like Alaska all the branches don't have time to develop properly before being munched upon!  So it was pleasant to see some prettier birch:

Oooh, and another pretty gate:

I like gates, so what?!  Through the gate and the path swings around and leads down an avenue of trees.  Although rather bare and uninspiring at this time of year, apparently the whole area is underplanted with thousands of spring bulbs, so we'll have to make a return visit in a few months!

And what's at the end of the avenue?  Yup, another gate of sorts  :)

At this point on the walk, a thumping could be heard.  This was due to our next destination, the Lode Mill.  Another reason we'd braved the declining weather was because it was the first Saturday of the month - one of the only two days monthly that the Mill is in use.  Due to some friendly discussion (i.e. argument) about who was taking photos of what, somehow we seem to have missed taking one of the entrance to the Mill!  But here's one of the ground-floor machinery, in this case what I believe is one of the stone nuts:

Jason ventured up the ladder to the Stone Floor, and took a picture of the hopper and shoe:

Apparently there has been a mill on this site since around the time of the Domesday Book (1085), and the monks had one in use (1100s-1500s).  This one, however, is relatively recent and dates from the 1700s.  It was restored by the Cambridgeshire Wind and Watermill Society and in 1982 was then again able to mill corn.  The flour they produce is sold to visitors, and yes, I bought a 1.5kg bag of it:

Perhaps you can make out it was ground in October (the 28th, actually) of this year, so it's in it's prime  ;)
You'll note I also purchased the recipe book.  So far I'm tempted by the 'Wholemeal Crumble' (because it is accompanied by the instruction to 'serve with ice-cream', always a plus with any recipe in my view), the 'Wholemeal Scones' (the 'pile high with jam and cream' being almost as good as 'serve with ice-cream') and the 'Easy Honey Ginger Nuts' (because anything with 'easy' in the title might be achievable even for me).  I'll let you know how it goes.  Unless it's a complete disaster, in which case I'll deny all responsibility and fail to understand what you're even asking about.

On out the other side of the mill, and a walk along the lode (the lodes are man-made waterways built between the Roman era and Medieval times to transport goods to and from the local area from the nearest rivers).  This is a view back along the lode with the mill in the distance:

Through a dark and gloomy wooded glade, and into a bit of wooded garden where Cyclamen bloom:

A glimpse through into a lawn area (apparently that's the Saxon deity Tiw in the middle there):

And a quick hello to Minerva:

Past the remnants of the Dahlias:



The weather had really turned rather dark and cold, so we hurried on a bit further and got our first view of the house:

This was the Abbey, and dates from sometime during the reign of Henry I (1100s) and was used by the Augustinians right up until Henry VIII, who as we know didn't think much of monasteries etc.  So in 1535 the Abbey was dissolved as an entity.  It was transformed into a country house in the 1600s, and eventually was bought by the Broughtons in 1926.  When the 1st Lord Fairhaven died in 1966, he passed the property to the National Trust.  At the side of the drive leading to the main door (above) is a giant redwood (or what remains of one) that was struck by lightning in July, 1999:

The house is open to the public most of the year but, you guessed it, closes at the end of October.  Less than a week before we visited.  Ah well  ;)  They certainly liked their statuary.  I'm not sure who this one is - Bacchus and a panther is my best guess (thanks to Google):

And on around back towards the visitor's centre.  There was a nice view across the parkland, but as you can tell the light was fading quickly:


One last statue, another anonymous bloke:

And a flash of colour from some grapes:

And that was our day at Anglesey Abbey.  I won't go into detail about Jason accidentally ordering smoked haddock and broccoli bake for his lunch, as those of you who know about his hatred of all things fishy will know this was one of those 'Oh the Humanity!' moments  :)

Anyhow, Anglesey Abbey has much to recommend it and I look forward to going back in the spring when I can see the bulbs flowering and also see the inside of the house.  Apparently they have a 9,000 volume library!  :)  For more about the property, try visiting:


Go back to the main page if you want to see anything else  :)