Isle of Albion
Fragments of one of the dissolution's earliest victims.
Photographed: Friday 11th May 2012
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Bayham Abbey was founded in 1208AD by a group of Premonstratensian canons under the patronage of Sir Robert de Turnham. These canons were transferred from Otham Abbey, as that site had been deemed unsuitable for sustained habitation, as well as from Brockley, where Sir Robert was also patron. The endowments of these two smaller houses passed to Bayham Abbey.

Bayham Abbey was one of the earliest victims of the Henry VIII's suppression of the religious houses, and was dissolved in 1524AD. The suppression was resisted by the local population, led by an ex-canon (Thonmas Towers), who they elevated to abbot. Following an armed struggle, the ringleaders were captured and imprisoned.

Today, Bayham Abbey survives in a ruinous state. Although little remains in tact, there are many fragments that help provide a reasonable idea of the layout of the buildings. The overall impression is better than the sum of its parts. Looking from the the western end of the church down the length of the nave, one wall and its three arched windows survive, and the pillars flanking the transepts provide some sense of what a grand building this must once have been. Also worthy of note is the surviving ruin of one of the abbey's gatehouses.