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Latitude: 51.5577 / 51°33'27"N
Longitude: -0.7798 / 0°46'47"W
OS Eastings: 484684
OS Northings: 185022
OS Grid: SU846850
Mapcode National: GBR D62.7N8
Mapcode Global: VHDWJ.F3LP
Entry Name: Bisham Abbey
Listing Date: 25 March 1955
Source: Historic England
Source ID: 1303584
English Heritage Legacy ID: 40803
Location: Bisham, Windsor and Maidenhead, SL7
County: Windsor and Maidenhead
Civil Parish: Bisham
Traditional County: Berkshire
Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Berkshire
Church of England Parish: Great Marlow with Marlow Bottom, Little Marlow and Bisham
Church of England Diocese: Oxford
SU 8485-8585 BISHAM MARLOW ROAD
and SU 8484-8584 (west side, off)
16/15 15/15 Bisham Abbey
Preceptory of the Knights Templar, now the Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre. C13,
altered and extended C14, and largely rebuilt in C16, altered and extended C17. Minor
restorations in 1859, altered mid C20. Part brick, part rendered, part chalk, part chalk
with knapped flint; some exposed timber frame on west. Several old tile gabled roofs.
Roughly 4 main blocks; the first runs east and west and faces due north; the second is
connected at its west end to the first block and runs in a south-easterly direction; the
third is a continuation of the second and contains the great hall and screens passage; the
fourth runs north-east at right angles to the hall. At the south-east corner of the northern
range and rising above it is a tower. Mostly 2 storeys, but part 2 storeys and attic.
Tower: built 1560, brick with stone quoins and dressings. Irregular, windows mostly blocked
but some 2-light casements remain. At the north-east is an octagonal turret, finishing
in an embattled parapet, and at the opposite corner, a large chimney-stack containing
many chimneys. South-west or entrance front: centre part chalk, 4 bays, with a one
bay gable at either end. Centre part has 2 brick gables with crow steps, and 2 large chimneys
with diagonal shafts, offset heads and clay pots. Three C16 cross windows with pediments
on first floor. On ground floor are three, 3-light casements with pediments and on the
left a C13 entrance porch with fine outer and inner doorways and a quadripartite ribbed
vault. The doorways have colonettes and moulded arches, and the large planked inner
door with its ironwork is original. Above the doorway is a small 3-light casement and
above it is an embattled brick parapet. The left gable of chequered chalk and flint is set
back slightly and has a steeply pitched roof, a 2-light cusped traceried window at the upper
level, and a small 2-light window with a 2-centred arched head, below. The right gable
is chalk and has a 2-light leaded casement at attic level in a moulded frame. Below this
is a 5-light mullioned and transomed window with casements at the bottom level. On
the ground floor, a small 3-light casement on left with pediment, and a blocked arched
opening on the right. East front: coved eaves cornice. 4 bays. On the right bay, a 2-
storey canted bay with hipped tile roof with large mullioned and transomed window on
first floor, and 3 arched openings to ground floor. To the left of this on the first floor,
two 2-light casements with hoodmoulds and a large window in the third bay similar to
that in the canted bay. On the ground floor of this section is a small, square-headed blocked
opening on the left, and to the right one narrow and 3 wide arched openings with moulded
heads which formed part of the former C14 cloisters. 2 further arches run through behind
the openings of the canted bays. Interior: in the great hall the remains of a late C13
window of 3 lancet lights, now blocked, in the east wall; and a mid C16 stone fireplace
with coupled Corinthian columns on either side, standing on enriched pedestals and supporting
an entablature with a carved frieze. Above this, an early C17 oak overmantel, given by
James I to Lord Windsor c.1605 for his house at Worcester, and when the house was sold,
the eighth Earl of Plymouth presented it to Bisham Abbey. The screens and projecting
gallery above are late C15, and the lower part of the hall wall is C17 panelling. In the
screens passage are 5 blocked arches which originally went into the C13 kitchens. A good
C18 staircase with moulded balusters to the north of the hall. Over the Great Chamber
on the east side, built by Lord Montagu, c.1370, and now the Elizabethan Room, is an
extremely fine collar purlin roof of 5 bays with moulded arched braces to collars, moulded
crown posts braced 4 ways, and double side-purlins hollow chamfered and finely moulded.
The House was an abbey for only 3 years. Formerly a preceptory of the Templars, it
became an Augustinian Priory in 1337, and in 1537 a Benedictine abbey. This was dissolved
in 1540, and the estate granted to Sir Philip Hoby in 1553, who began to rebuild as did
his half-brother who succeeded him. Much of this work was carried out between 1557
V.C.H. Vol III p.139 et seq, but note the interior has been much altered since that publication.
B.O.E. (Berkshire) p.89 and 90.
C.L June 1905, p.906 et seq, April 12th 1941 p.326 et seq, April 19th 1941 p.342 et seq,
and April 26th 1941 p.364 et seq.
Listing NGR: SU8470085002
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