History in Structure

The Abbey

A Grade II* Listed Building in Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire

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Latitude: 52.8003 / 52°48'0"N

Longitude: -1.6292 / 1°37'44"W

OS Eastings: 425099

OS Northings: 322586

OS Grid: SK250225

Mapcode National: GBR 5DW.GXS

Mapcode Global: WHCG5.YWC4

Plus Code: 9C4WR92C+48

Entry Name: The Abbey

Listing Date: 24 March 1950

Last Amended: 31 October 2022

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1213613

English Heritage Legacy ID: 272945

ID on this website: 101213613

Location: Bond End, East Staffordshire, DE14

County: Staffordshire

District: East Staffordshire

Civil Parish: Burton

Built-Up Area: Burton upon Trent

Traditional County: Staffordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Staffordshire

Church of England Parish: Burton-on-Trent St Modwen

Church of England Diocese: Lichfield

Tagged with: Architectural structure

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Burton upon Trent


Remains of a C13 abbey infirmary, enlarged in the C14 and C15 and extended and altered as part of its conversion into a dwelling in the late-C19. The building was further extended in both the early and mid-C20.


Remains of a C13 abbey infirmary, enlarged in the C14 and C15 and extended and altered as part of its conversion into a dwelling in the late-C19. The building was further extended in both the early and mid-C20.

MATERIALS: the building is constructed of sandstone in ashlar blocks with stone dressings and a slate roof. A mock-timber frontage is situated on the building’s west elevation, and also on the east elevation on the first-floor verandah. The C20 extension is constructed of brick.

PLAN: the building has a principal linear range oriented roughly north-south with a projecting cross wing at the north and south ends. The north cross wing, which contains the former infirmary chapel, has an attached later range to the west.

EXTERIOR: the building’s principal façade faces west with the late-C19 timber frontage at the centre of the principal range running north-south. The timber cladding is arranged in square panels at first floor to give the appearance of box framing. There are several sandstone stacks rising from the building, which have either been altered or added in the late-C19. The southern end of this elevation has a C19 projecting stone addition with a lead covered spirelet with louvred openings. To the right (south) is the two storey- C19 cross wing with stone mullion window with six lights at first floor, and door openings below. The north cross wing contains at its centre a projecting stone platform with acanthus bracket supporting statuary, with projecting stone hood with tracery detail above. At ground floor, this wing connects to the early-C20 arts-and-crafts style range to the west. The extension is constructed of brick in Flemish bond and has a tall brick stack at its east end, mirroring the stack on the earlier building to the right (east). This later range is single-storey and has a central projecting bay with hipped roof containing windows with leaded lights and brick nogging in both basket weave and herringbone patterns.

The rear elevation (east) faces onto the River Trent and has a roughly central, large stone stack dating from the former abbey infirmary, with later inserted window at ground floor. To the right (north) is a C19 two storey bay window which is square on plan, with stone brackets and moulded cornice appearing to support the first-floor window above. The windows have a single central mullion and have leaded lights. To the right is the north cross wing, with C15 infirmary chapel tracery window visible at the centre of the gable. Below, on each floor is a C19 mullion and transom window. To the left of the central stack, are two further window openings, on the ground floor are pairs of lancet windows with trefoil heads, at first floor are mullion windows with leaded lights and projecting rectangular hood moulds. To the left (south) is a first-floor verandah with a timber arcade with slender columns supporting the roof above. The external wall on the first floor has mock-tudor panelling in a diamond pattern. At ground floor is a series of three further windows, the two on the right having stone mullions and hood moulds to match those on the first floor. A further single leaded window at ground floor is located to the west. At the west end of this elevation is the C19 cross wing, with two-storey canted bay window to each floor with chamfered stone mullions. Between the windows a stone band contains a scrolling script to read: ‘PER IL. SVO. CONTRARIO’ the Paget’s family motto roughly translating from Latin to ‘By its reverse’. Above is a small tracery window to match the surviving chapel window on the north range.

The north elevation contains at ground floor, surviving springer stones of a vaulted undercroft, which once extended to the north to form a two-storey range. At first floor is a blocked stone arch doorway to the right, with two inserted window openings to the left under stone segmental arches. To the east is the attached early-C20 single-storey range which extends further to the north than the earlier infirmary building. The C20 building has a projecting gable at its centre with timber and brick infill. Below is a large curved bay window with leaded lights and some heraldic stained glass to the top lights. An entrance door and windows with leaded lights is situated to the left.

The south elevation of the building has two projecting stone stacks with a central leaded mullion window at first floor.

INTERIOR: the C19 entrance porch on the west elevation leads to the former entrance hall beyond, currently in use as a reception area (2022). To the west is the C20 extension and former billiard rooms with a pair of rooms with matching wide barrel-vaulted ceiling with intersecting plaster friezes with foliate design. The principal range of the building (running north-south) contains three former reception rooms of the C19 dwelling, all now in use as dining areas of the restaurant. The southern room, formerly the dining room of the house, has a carved timber frieze with moulded cornice and ribbed detail with carved bosses to the ceiling, likely of C20 date. From a passage to the west of this room a substantial ceiling beam is visible running west-east, with a possible blocked opening on the adjacent west wall. To the south the building contains ancillary service spaces including the C19 kitchen with substantial stone fireplace surround. The surround has a heavily moulded cornice with words contained within the frieze to read: ‘HE. FILLETH. ALL. THINGS. LIVING. WITH. PLENTEOVSNESS’. The jambs of the surround are chamfered and there are relief carvings within the spandrels, the left-hand spandrel contains carved initials.

On the first floor are the premises of the Burton Club, with some of the former bedrooms opened up in the C20 to provide a dining space and billiard room. At the north end of the upper floor is a C20 bar area, likely the location of the infirmary’s chapel. The building’s roof space is accessed via a stair at the southern end of the first-floor dining hall. The C15 infirmary roof structure across the north-south range and the north cross wing of the former chapel survives with seven arch-braced trusses in total with double-side purlins. The roof has a crown-post construction without a collar purlin and with some inserted iron rods between the collar and the ridge. There are curved arch braces between the principal rafters and the collar with the common rafters mostly later replacements.


A dwelling known as The Abbey was created in the late-C19 upon the site of the former infirmary of Burton upon Trent’s Benedictine Abbey, with some of the earlier monastic remains retained as part of the conversion. An abbey at Burton was founded by Wulfric Spot in 1002, originally dedicated to St Mary and St Modwen with an infirmary thought to have existed since at least the C13, situated to the south-east of the abbey alongside to the River Trent. Construction of a ‘great hall’ to enlarge the infirmary under Abbot William Bromley took place in the C14. Dendrochronological analysis of the infirmary roof confirms a felling date between 1445 to 1470 indicating that the infirmary was enlarged again during the C15. A tracery window on the east elevation of the north range indicates the likely position of a first-floor infirmary chapel. The elaborate C15 roof structure indicates that the range to the south of the chapel was of some importance, but from the evidence available it is not possible to say definitively whether this was the location of the infirmary’s hall. Evidence from the surviving fabric suggests that a two-storey range to the north of the chapel once existed with a vaulted undercroft. The abbey was abandoned during the dissolution of the monasteries in the C16, with the buildings subsequently passing into the ownership of the Paget family. In the following centuries, the former abbey was poorly maintained, with the majority of the buildings left to decay. A historic engraving of the former abbey in the late-C18 shows that the north range of the infirmary with the vaulted undercroft had been demolished by this time.

In the late-C19 the former infirmary buildings were converted into a single dwelling to be known as The Abbey under the work of architect J B Everard. The alterations were carried out for Colonel Bindley, founder of Bindley and Co Brewery in Burton, with the architect’s plans dated 1888. As part of the conversion works Everard added a new mock-timber frontage to the west elevation, with stained glass and mullion windows. A new entrance porch was also added to this façade, with the interior reconfigured to provide a ground floor hall at the north end with seven bedrooms and a billiard room at first floor. Further mock-timber framing was also applied to the east elevation, under a first floor verandah and a new cross wing was added to the south elevation, to mirror the one to the north. The east elevation of the north gable was refaced as part of the works, though it retains its tracery window from the infirmary’s chapel. The east elevation fenestration was also altered, with the insertion of several mullion windows and a two-storey projecting bay to the south of the north gable, intersecting the infirmary’s large external stack.

By 1910 the building had become the clubhouse of the Burton Club. At around this time, the north end of the building was extended to the west to create an additional linear range which was used as billiard rooms. This range was enlarged twice over the course of the C20, once between 1937 and 1952 and again after 1968. In 1975 the building was converted to a public house, known as The Abbey Inn. The public house ceased trading in 2006 with the building now (2022) housing a restaurant on the ground floor, with the upper floor continuing to be occupied by Burton Abbey Club. A self-contained apartment over two floors is situated at the south end of the building.

Reasons for Listing

The Abbey, containing the remains of a C13 infirmary, enlarged in the C14 and C15 and extended and altered as part of its conversion into a dwelling in the late-C19, is listed at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:
* the Abbey contains the remarkable survival of a C15 roof structure formed of seven arch-braced trusses, helping us to understand medieval carpentry techniques;
* though the exact location of the infirmary hall is not possible to determine, other parts of the plan of the infirmary are still discernible from the surviving fabric with a first-floor chapel and springers on the north elevation indicating a vaulted under croft (now lost);
* the alterations carried out by J B Everard are of good quality and have intended to be sympathetic and in keeping with the earlier building.

Historic interest:
* the building is one of only a few surviving remnants of the Benedictine abbey at Burton, founded in 1002, and is an important survival of the town’s history.

Group value:
* the building has group value with the adjacent Manor House, which also contains remains of Burton’s Benedictine abbey.

External Links

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