Just outside the town of Fareham in Hampshire, lies the ruins of Titchfield Abbey. It wasn’t easy to find, but we eventually pulled into the Abbey Yard…
Status: Fareham District, Hampshire, Village, England
Eating & Sleeping: N/A
Attractions: Titchfield Abbey etc
The version of the Abbey you see today was the work of Thomas Wriothesley (1505 – 1550, 1st Earl of Southampton and Secretary of State). He was granted the land the Monastery stood on in 1537, after Henry VIII instigated the Dissolution of the Monasteries and closed the Abbey.
The most well preserved part of the former Abbey is the stunning Gatehouse, constructed by Thomas after he took over. He demolished the Abbey Church, and the Gate sits in what was once the length of the Nave.
It stayed in his family for many years, until Thomas Wriothesley (1607 – 1667, 4th Earl of Southampton and Lord High Treasurer) died and it left the family.
In 1781 it fell out of use as it was eventually stripped to help build other structures.
Aside from the Gatehouse, the rest of the structure is original, as the rest of the what was the Cloisters etc for the main Abbey were converted into his private residence.
The original Abbey was created in 1232 by the then Bishop of Winchester, Peter des Roches (Died 1238) for the use of the French Premonstratensian Canons. Around 15 of them moved in, and many became local Vicars.
King Henry V (1386 – 1422) himself stayed here in 1415 on his way through to France.
The original layout of the building was comprised of the Abbey Church, with the cloister buildings in a rectangular plan protruding from the North Transept, and coming back round to join the front of the Abbey. This created a courtyard at the complex’s centre, which was retained when the Gatehouse replaced the Church.
Outside you can still see remnants of the other buildings, with exterior walls, as well as the mosaic floors which would have run between them.
Titchfield is certainly worth a look if you are in the area, and is one of the few extensive English Heritage properties for which there is no charge to visit.
Our next stop was the City of Portsmouth, where we filled in a few gaps after our last visit, from the house Charles Dickens was born in, to a trip up the famous Spinnaker Tower…