Anglesey Abbey Quy Road, Lode CB25 9EJ, England
Owned by the National Trust, and located in the village of Lode, Anglesey Abbey is a country house, based on the site of a former priory, roughly 5 miles outside of Cambridge. The house and its grounds are open to the public, although some parts remain the private home of the family of Lord Fairhaven, the last owner of the property.
The picturesque mansion spans a 350-year history, unique paintings of Windsor, as well as the extensive gardens which were designed around the grounds of the former Augustinian priory.
A community of Augustinian monks lived here at Anglesea or Anglesey Priory from the time of Henry I, gaining extra land from the nearby village of Bottisham in 1279 and also operating as a local hospital. The priory was closed in 1535 during the Dissolution of the Monasteries, and was bought three years later by lawyer John Hynde, who gutted the roofs for his new property Madingley Hall, leaving Anglesea derelict.
Businessman Thomas Hobson bought the priory in 1625 and convertred it into a country house, and renamed it Anglesey Abbey, thinking the name to sound much grander. Some of the stylistic features of the original priory building remain to this day.
Much later, a passion for tradition and impressing guests inspired Huttleston Broughton, the future Lord Fairhaven, to transform a run-down country house and desolate landscape. He bought the property in 1926 and started an extensive renovation of Anglesey Abbey, collecting furniture and art to restore the site to its former glory.
Aged just 30, Broughton began to create his first home. Wanting to inspire and surprise visitors, one of his key aims was to reinvigorate the gardens with plants for all seasons, on top of a cosy house in which to entertain. Broughton never married, or produced heirs, meaning that when Lord Fairhaven died in 1966, he left Anglesey Abbey to the National Trust. The Winter Garden was opened in 1998 to celebrate his memory.
The National Trust do an amazing job at preserving Anglesey Abbey, and help visitors uncover the personality behind the home and the rare objects contained within. From fine furnishings and numerous books, to paintings, silver and rare clocks, there is much to interest even the most casual of historian, helping provide a feeling of true opulence.
Outside in the grounds, people can explore 114 acres of vibrant colour, delicious scent and the simple pleasures of nature all year round. There are tree lined avenues and walks which form the basis for a hidden network of formal gardens such as the dahlia garden and a semi-circular herbaceous border. There are also a number of statues nestled among the plantlife. Notably for the winter, a large collection of snowdrops was planted in Anglesey Abbey’s easten side has been established on the eastern side, providing beautiful blooms the whole year round.
Also located within the grounds is Lode Water Mill, a restored mill dating from the 18th century, which still produces its own local flour which can be bought in the shop. In 1900 the mill was converted from grinding corn to grinding cement but was restored back again under Lord Fairhaven in the 1930s. The Cambridgeshire Wind and Water Mill society began restoring the mill back to working order in 1978.