Netley Abbey

Netley Abbey is a late medieval monastery in the village of Netley near Southampton. The extensive remains consist of a church, cloister buildings, abbot's house, and fragments of the post-Dissolution mansion.

Founded in 1239, Netley Abbey is one of the best preserved medieval Cistercian monasteries in southern England. Despite being a royal abbey, Netley was never richn and produced no influential scholars or churchmen in its nearly 300-year history. The monks were best known for their generous hospitality offered to travellers arriving on land and by sea.

In 1536, Netley Abbey was seized by Henry VIII of England during the Dissolution of the Monasteries and the buildings granted to William Paulet, a wealthy Tudor politician, who converted them into a mansion. The abbey was used as a country house until the beginning of the eighteenth century, after which it was abandoned and partially demolished for building materials. The ruins became a tourist attraction, and provided inspiration to poets and artists of the Romantic movement.

In the early twentieth century the site was given to the nation, and is now a Scheduled Ancient Monument, cared for by English Heritage.