Henry VIII

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A touch of English history and an odd custom distinguish a visit to this abbey… just $90 including all meals.

Monday, May 17th, 2010

Encompassed by peaceful rural farmland, the abbey has preserved a fascinating atmosphere. see page 58 in LODGING IN BRITAIN'S MONASTERIES.

The abbey is an Elizabethan manor house beautifully situated in a dip on the same site where a group of Augustinian Canons founded a small priory in the 1119. The priory was closed in the 1530s and Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII’s minister, the man who organized the survey that led to the Dissolution, found the position of the abbey so inviting that he wrote in his journal that he wanted the abbey for himself.

Encompassed by peaceful rural farmland, the abbey has preserved a fascinating atmosphere that led it to compete for the BBC Enjoy England Excellence Award in 2007 as one of the best tourist experiences in England. Nearby Rutland is home to Oakham Castle, a fine example of late 12th century domestic architecture. Its Great Hall is decorated with 12th century sculptures and is famed for its collection of horseshoes, 240 of which hang on the walls. These represent the unique custom that every peer of the realm must give a horseshoe to the lord of the manor on the first visit to Oakham. The custom has been followed for at least 500 years and probably dates to the 12th century. The oldest surviving horseshoe is believed to have been given by Edward IV in about 1470. HRH The Princess Royal, HRH The Prince of Wales and HRH Princess Alexandra gave the most recent.

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