Cambridgeshire: Denny Abbey.

A small church was built around 1159 for about 20 monks from Ely Cathedral, they worshipped here and farmed the land. Denny was a small island of higher ground that was surrounded by low waterlogged land. It can be found today on the A10 near Waterbeach in Cambridgeshire. It is a museum holding a lot of memorabilia of farming of days gone by. It has an old- fashioned village shop for display purposes. Vintage ploughs and tractors, a small tenants house to show life in the 1940s, a barn which was built in 1350 which was would have been the refectory or dining room for the nuns which once lived there and the Abbey its-self. Ruins now but once would have been the worship place and the home to several owners throughout the next few hundred years.

In 1170 the Knights of Templar took over the site and used it as a retirement home for their elderly members then in early 1300 the Templar organization left Britain and the site was given to The Countess of Pembroke. She then set up a community at Denny for nuns.

Denny Abbey was closed down by King Henry V111 in 1539 and once again the site changed hands. The original Abbey was converted into a farmhouse and continued to be used by farmers and tenants. In 1883 the Dimocks became the new owners and farmed the land until 1923 when the site changed owners again when they sold it to Pembroke College in Cambridge.

Chivers the jam makers rented the land until the second world war. After the war, the Abbey and the refectory which had been used to store hay in were taken over by the government and this unique site is safe and secure for the future for us all to see and visit.

The village shop was like stepping back in time. Normally the one shop in the village would sell everything from your flour and sugar to your buttons for the cardigan you have just knitted.

The wheelwright’s shed was crammed full of all the tools that would have been used to make and mend the wheels to the carts.

I made this visit in September 2020. It had only been open for a few days after being shut since March 2020 due to the COVID outbreak. They were offering free of charge entry until October 2020. There is more to see on this site than you think. I enjoyed my visit and found the history fascinating. If you are looking for that something slightly different and enjoy stepping back in time this is the place. A small site that has a lot to offer. Most of it is outside, There are picnic tables for you to sit and eat. A small gift shop and cafe.

Please contact first for details on opening details. Denny Abbey and Farmland Museum. Ely Road, Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire.


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