Sussex Castles

Bayham Abbey


Ruined, but many walls still standing

Parts of nave and transepts remain

Parts of gatehouse and cloisters remain

Visitor Information

Open to public, see official site for hours

Limited on site parking

No facilities on site

Refreshments available in nearby villages of Lamberhurst and Frant


Bayham abbey is situated on the Sussex-Kent border near Polegate. It was the first of twenty seven houses of the Premonstratensian order founded in England. The Premonstratensian's also also know as the white canons due to the their white habits. Canons are similar to monks in that they live a communal monastic lifestyle, but canons also provide spiritual ministry to the surrounding area. There are two other Premonstratensian sites in Sussex. Dureford abbey in Rogate, of which little survives and the Our Lady of England Priory in Storrington. The latter priory being founded in 1902.

The abbey was founded and endowed by Ralph de Dene, a wealthy Norman early in the thirteenth century. The abbey received additional endowments from the Sackville family and thrived until the dissolution of the monasteries by King Henry VIII. Henry granted the income from the monastery to Cardinal Wolsey, who used money from the monasteries to found colleges in Oxford and Ipswich. The income from the monastery at that time was £4 9s 4½d.