Thursday, September 14, 2006

Newstead Abbey and Friar Tuck

Newstead Abbey is famous the world over as the one time home of Lord Byron. But the most cursory glance at its famous facade tells us it was originally a priory. Founded in 1163, Newstead Abbey was home to the Augustan Canons, and allegedly Friar Tuck himself. The spring at Newstead is even said to have been cursed by the Canons when Friar Tuck's outlaw activities lead to his dismissal.
Sir John Byron purchased Newstead Abbey, soon after Henry 8th dissolved the monastery in 1593. John Byron demolished much of the priory to build a great mansion, but the iconic 13th century west front was left standing, and in fact the interior of the mansion itself incorporates certain features from the original building. Much later the infamous 5th Lord Byron, the romantic poet often referred to as the "wicked Byron", had the surrounding area landscaped but sadly neglected the building itself.
Newstead Abbey today is open to the general public, and highly recommended for its atmospheric unspoilt gothic atmosphere.

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