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Haughmond Abbey, Shropshire

(52°43′56″N, 2°40′46″W)
Haughmond Abbey
SJ 542 152
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Shropshire
now Shropshire
  • Barbara Zeitler
  • Ron Baxter
25 October 1997

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Haughmond Abbey lies 3 miles NE of Shrewsbury. The monastic site is built on a sloping hill. The 12thc original church (of which the foundations were brought to light during archaeological excavations in the 1950s) was replaced by the present, ruined building in the 13thc. A N aisle and N porch were added to the church in the late 13thc, whilst in the 15thc the chapel of St Anne was built N of the presbytery. The cloister adjoining the S transept was completed by end of the 12thc. The annexes were largely restored and, in some cases, rebuilt, from the 14thc onwards: the kitchens and the abbot's great hall were rebuilt during the 14thc, whilst the Chapter House was rebuilt in c.1500.

The Romanesque parts of the ruined abbey comprise the entrance to the Chapter House, situated at the E end of the cloister, the processional doorway on the N side of the cloister leading into the nave of the church, a doorway in the W wall of the cloister, now blocked but formerly leading into the W range, a large lavatorium in the W wall of the cloister, blind arches in the SW of the refectory and sculptural fragments in the museum.


A small community called Prior Fulk and his brethren was established in the later 11thc, and this was the nucleus of the Augustinian house founded formally in 1135. The patrons were the Fitzalans, Lords of Oswestry and Clun. In the 12thc the abbey benefited from the generous patronage of Henry II, Empress Matilda, the Fitzalan family, and other notable families. The numerous endowments and grants received the papal confirmation in 1172. The abbey was suppressed in 1539 and was granted to Sir Edward Littleton in 1540; subsequently, the abbey was in the possession of Sir Rowland Hill and the Barker family.


Exterior Features



Exterior Decoration


Interior Features

Interior Decoration

Blind arcades

Loose Sculpture


Provenance and dates of the sculptural fragments kept in the museum are according to their labels. The most spectacular of the Romanesque sculpture still in place belongs to the chapterhouse entrance and the processional dooway: both of the late-12thc and both embellished with additional figures odf standing saints in the jambs in the 14thc.


B. Botfield, 'Shropshire, its history and antiquities. An address to the British Archaeological Association assembled in Congress at Shrewsbury, August 6th, 1860', in Collectanea archaeologica: communications made to the British Archaeological Association, Vol. I, London 1862, 27-8.

G. Chitty, Haughmond Abbey: Guide Leaflet, 1992.

R. W. Eyton, Antiquities of Shropshire, London 1859, vol. 7, 282-303.

I. Ferris, Haughmond Abbey, Lilleshall Abbey, Moreton Corbet Castle, Shropshire. English Heritage Gyuuidebook 2000 (reprinted 2015), 3-14.

Historic England Listed Building 361543

J. Newman and N. Pevsner, Buildings of England: Shropshire, London, 2006, 285-90.

N. Pevsner, Buildings of England: Shropshire, Harmondsworth 1958, 140-3.

Victoria County History: Shropshire, 2, 1973, 62-70.