Creake Abbey in Norfolk is a secret and slightly mystical site. There are shops and a cafe just round the corner but it didn’t feel appropriate to mix the 20C with the atmosphere of the site. The Abbey is close to the wonderful churches at North Creake and South Creake.
The history of Creake Abbey
Sir Robert de Neresford was a Constable of Dover Castle in the 13th century, and a very wealthy and powerful man. He and Lady Alice de Neresford established several churches in Norfolk, including built the Chapel of St Mary of the Meadows at Lingerescroft in c.1306 in the water meadows on the River Burn. A few years later in c.1317 they added the Hospital of St Bartholomew to the site. Sir Robert also had the right to appoint a Rector to the Church of Hapton,1 and he gave the income from the Church to Hospital. When the Hospital adopted the Augustinian rule2 it became a Priory and the buildings were further expanded to create accommodation. Lady Alice gave the Patronage of the Priory to the King, Henry III, in c.1225 who declared the establishment an Abbey.
However, the Abbey had a difficult history. A devastating fire in 1486 destroyed much of the Abbey which then suffered an outbreak of the plague. When the Prior died in 1506, the last of the monks, the Abbey was taken over by the Crown, the Patron of the Abbey, and given to Christ’s College in Cambridge.
Creake Abbey today
While there are only ruins of the buildings today the atmosphere of a somewhat mystical site lingers.
Creake Abbey in Norfolk is a magical place which you should visit if you are in the area.