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Anglesey Abbey, Cambridgeshire

Angelsey Abbey by Barbara Ballard Anglesey Abbey, a National Trust property, was home to a priory established in 1135 by eleven Austin canons. It was a wealthy abbey until the monasteries were dissolved in 1535. At that time parts of the priory were destroyed and the remains became a private home. The house was remodelled and decorated and filled with furniture and art by Lord Fairhaven, Huttleston Broughton, in the 1920s.

The house is set in formal and informal gardens. In January and February a large number of snowdrops are in bloom. In the spring look for hyacinths, and, in the summer, dahlias and herbaceous borders. A watermill (first and third Saturdays are milling dates) and woodland path add to the attractions.

The living room of the house was the priory’s chapter house. In the room are a 17th century tapestry, an English 18th century console table, a picture once the property of Queen Elizabeth I’s godson, a Gainsborough painting, a Louis XV commode, a Regency clock, and other paintings and tables of note. The chimneypiece is 16th century but placed in the room in the 1920s.

The oak room contains a pair of neo-classical marble horses, a Jacobean chest, and a Canaletto portrait. The panelling and fireplace were added in the 1920s. In the west end long gallery is a George II clock and an embroidered altar frontal. In the panelled lobby is 16th century linenfold wainscoting, added to the room in the 1930s. Two ormolu statues dated from the Louis XVI period.

The Windsor corridor and bedroom have a Gobelins tapestry and 18th century Portuguese bed. In the prior’s room is a portrait of Catherine Parr, while the library corridor has an early 18th century writing desk. A table of Napoleon’s sits in the abbey room. An Indian table and mirror decorate the ship bedroom. Also in the bedroom is a 16th century limestone chimneypiece.

The library contains 9000 volumes. The room was built in 1938. Constable’s picture of George IV at Whitehall hangs on the wall along with other portraits. A George II giltwood pier table is below his portrait. A library table once belonged to Robert Walpole.

Two picture galleries were added to the house in 1955-56. The upper of the two displays Lord Fairhaven’s collection of View of Windsor. Furniture includes an Italian giltwood table. The lower gallery is graced with an 18th century longcase clock, two paintings by Claude Lorraine, and Ming period Chinese red lacquer furniture.

A tapestry staircase and hall are home to a 17th century Brussels tapestry, an English tapestry, a Bruges tapestry, and others. The dining room dates from the 13th century. Its pillars are of Purbeck marble. An oak cabinet is dated 1509. An Italian renaissance refectory table, 17th century Dutch plaques, and 15th century hooded chimneypiece are other pieces. The east end long gallery has a collection of 17th and 18th century armour and a 16th century bullion chest.

Visitor Information

Anglesey Abbey
Quy Road, Lode, 6 miles northeast of Cambridge, Cambridgeshire.
Tel. 01223 810080.
Open: house April-end Oct, Wed-Sun, 1-5pm (timed entry on Sun and BH Mon); garden, in March from 10.30am-4.30pm, April-June, until 5.30pm; July-end Oct, Wed-Sun; July-Aug, daily, 10:30am-5:30pm; Sep-Oct, Wed-Sun, 10.30am-5.30pm; Nov-March until 4.30pm. Lode Mill open 11am-3.30pm weekends only Nov-March; April-end Oct, from 1-5pm, Wed-Sun

Note: At the time of our visit the National Trust did not alllow interior photos of National Trust properties.

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