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Lenses Abbey

Abbey Wood, Kent

Quick Guide

Lesnes Abbey (also known as Westwood Abbey) are the ruins of a former Abbey, in Abbey Wood, in the London Borough of Bexley. It is surrounded by parkland and an ornamental garden. It was originally founded by Richard de Luci, Chief Justiciar of England, in 1178. In 1179, de Luci resigned his office and retired to the Abbey, where he died three months later. He was buried in the chapter house.

It sits amongst an ancient woodland where the land rises above what would originally have been marshland. The abbey kept fishponds which were fed by a small stream running down through the woods, and these can be seen today although the water level is often low. The woods above it have several features dating back to the Bronze Age and also a fine display of wild bluebells and daffodils in the Spring.

The Abbott (Arrouasian Benedictine monks) was an important local landlord, and took a leading part in draining the marshland. However, this and the cost of maintaining river embankments was one of the reasons the Abbey had chronic financial difficulties. It never became a large community, and was closed in 1525, under a licence to suppress monasteries of less than seven inmates. It was one of the first monasteries to be closed after the Dissolution of the Monasteries with it's monastic buildings pulled down, except for the Abbott's Lodging.

The remains of the cloister and surrounding buildings at Lenses Abbey.   Stephen Craven

See Larger Image Click on image to see larger version

The abbey was effectively lost and the area became farmland with the abbots house forming part of a farmhouse. The site was purchased in 1930 by London Country council and was opened to the public as a park in 1931. It has been restored to show some of the walls and the entire outline of the abbey is visible giving a good idea of the size of the original place.  There is a cafe and a small exhibition of the abbey and also toilet facilities for visitors.

Location: Lenses Abbey, Abbey Wood, Belvedere, London

Grid Reference: TQ479787 Ceremonial County: Kent

Map Link: StreetMap 

Aerial photo: Google Aerial Photo

Getting there: From M25 take A206 towards Belvedere. At the junction of the A2016 and A220 continue on the A206 Woolwich Road until it joins the B213, take a right into Abbey Wood Road and the wood is on your righthand side.

Access: Off the B213 Abbey Road
Website: Own
Other Useful Websites: Wiki
Postcode: Telephone:
Opening Times: Public park open all the time

Charges: None

Nearby Locations:
Other Location Pages: Abbey Section

Notes: Within Lenses Abbey Woods, which are also good for seeing wild flowers such as Daffodils and Bluebells as well as many others at their correct seasons.







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By: Keith Park Section: Abbey and Religious Buildings Key:
Page Ref: lenses_abbey Topic: Abbeys Last Updated: 02/2011

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