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Located 6 miles North of Cambridge on A10. (OS Map 154; ref TL 495684). Parking in grounds next to abbey/museum. Managed by the Farmland Museum Trust.
Denny Abbey has a unique and fascinating history. Founded in 1159 as a Benedictine monastery, it then became a retirement home for elderly Knights Templars. After the Templars' suppression for alleged heresy in 1308, it next passed to the Countess of Pembroke, who converted part into a house and established in the rest a convent of 'Poor Clare' Franciscan nuns. This in turn was dissolved by Henry VIII in 1539, whereafter the buildings became a farm until the 1960s, with the nuns' great refectory as its barn. Among its tenants was Thomas Hobson, the horse-hirer whose refusal to allow customers to select their mounts gave rise to the expression 'Hobson's choice'. All these changes are still traceable in the building: they are now interpreted for visitors by new graphic panels illustrated by local artist Anne Biggs, together with a time-line tracing the site's history from 4000 BC, a new viewing platform and displays of site-finds. New family-friendly activities include imaginative hands-on interactives about medieval tiles, stained glass and arches. Denny's later farming story is continued by 'Walnut Tree Cottage', furnished as a labourer's home of the 1940s. The site's Farmland Museum also features a fenman's hut, blacksmith's and wheelwright's workshops, a village shop display and many other aspects of Cambridgeshire rural life.
Check the English Heritage website for details.
Dogs on leads are welcome - contact site for any restrictions. Assistance dogs are welcome everywhere.
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