Langley Abbey

Has been described as a Possible Fortified Ecclesiastical site

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameLangley Abbey
Alternative Names
Historic CountryNorfolk
Modern AuthorityNorfolk
1974 AuthorityNorfolk
Civil ParishLangley With Hardley

Premonstratensian Abbey founded in 1195 and dissolved in 1536. The precinct was surrounded by a wet ditch with three entrances. Some of the remains, visible above ground, are included in the present farm buildings. Excavations in 1921 revealed the remainder of the ground plan. The cruciform aisled church had a tower at the West end. The presbytery was flanked by chapels extending East from the transepts, and an additional chapel, North of the North transept, extending the full length of the transept and presbytery. The claustral buildings were arranged to the South. These included the sacristy, chapter house, parlour, dorter and its sub-vault and warming house in the East range, the frater in the South range, and cellarium in the West range. The gatehouse adjoined the North part of the cellarium at an oblique angle. Remains of a furnace in the Presbytery was presumably built, at the dissolution, to melt lead from the roof. Extant remains of the Abbey buildings comprise the stable, part of the Gatehouse, the Cellarium with vaulted undercroft to the North, parts of the West and North walls of the Chapter House and the South-East corner of the Infirmary. The stable and Cellarium are both in good condition and are used as farm buildings. (PastScape)

Gatehouse Comments

Abbot and Convent of Langeley issued licence to crenellate in 1346. Parker identifies this as Abbot's Langley, Hertfordshire. The VCH refers the licence to Langley Abbey, Norfolk. The licence was for a crenellated belfry, which can hardly have been defensive.

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law

Historic England Scheduled Monument Number
Historic England Listed Building number(s)
Images Of England
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceTG362028
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  • Knowles, David and Hadcock, R. Neville, 1953, Medieval religious houses in England and Wales (Longmans) p167, 213
  • Page, Wm (ed), 1906, 'Houses of Premonstratensian canons: The abbey of Langley' VCH Norfolk Vol. 2 p. 418-2 online transcription
  • Turner, T.H. and Parker, J.H., 1859, Some account of Domestic Architecture in England (Oxford) Vol. 3 Part 2 p. 414 online copy


  • Coulson, C., 1982, 'Hierarchism in Conventual Crenellation: An Essay in the Sociology and Metaphysics of Medieval Fortification' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 26 p. 69-100 see online copy
  • Erwood, F.C. Elliston, 1922, 'The Premonstratensian Abbey of Langley, Co. Norfolk' Journal of the British Archaeological Society (new ser) Vol. 28 p. 49
  • Erwood, F.C. Elliston, 1920/22, 'The Premonstratensian Abbey of Langley, Co. Norfolk' Norfolk Archaeology Vol. 21

Primary Sources

  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1903, Calendar of Patent Rolls Edward III (1345-48) Vol. 7 p. 164 online copy