Lesnes Abbey - Abbey Wood

Lesnes Abbey was founded in 1178 by Richard de Luci, Chief Justiciar to Henry II. It is probable the abbey, dedicated to St.Mary and St.Thomas the Martyr was founded as an act of penance by de Luci who was closely implicated in the murder of Thomas A Beckett at Canterbury Cathedral in 1170. In 1179 the first Abbott, William, was consecrated and Richard de Luci resigned his office as the Chief Justiciar to become a canon at Lesnes. Later that year de Luci died and was buried in the Chapter House.

The Abbey was a foundation for Augustinian or “Black Canons”. These differed from Benedictine monks because they were primarily a clerical order, who' duty it was, with the bishop's consent, 'to baptise, preach, give penance and bury the dead'. During the twelfth century they had adopted the “Rule” of St.Augustine, a monastic ruler similar to that of St.Benedict, but the Augustinian Canons tended to be less strict than the reformed Benedictines an observance of the letter of their rule, and more moderate in its practice.

The land belonging to the Abbey woods to the south-east and the marshes to the north by the river. Water was supplied from a dammed reservoir or “conduit pond” in the woods to the south and piped to the buildings from the main drain.

The Abbey was in financial difficulties throughout much of it's existence. This was partly due to the expense of maintaining the river walls and draining the marches along the banks of the river Thames, which was regularly flooded. It gradually built up debts and through the fourteenth century it's buildings fell into disrepair.

The Abbey was closed around 1525 by Henry VIIIs chief minister, Cardinal Wolsey, and most of its monastic buildings were pulled down very soon after the dissolution. Henry Cooke aquired the site in 1541, retaining the Abbott's Lodgings as a mansion house, but later it came into the possession of Sir John Hippersley, who dug it over for building materials. The Abbott's Lodging, however, remained intact until it was demolished in 1845.

To survey the area as a team, hold silent vigils whilst recording using video and still photography

Nikon Coolpix 3100 digital camera
Fuji Finepix 4900 digital camera
Kodak Easyshare cx7310 digital camera
Olympus Camedia C160 digital camera
Fuji Finepix S550 digital camera

Sony DCR- HC30E
Sony DCR-HC19
Samsung VP-D351 Mini DV camera with night vision

Kim, Ian, Dave, Paddy, Sarah

The Investigation:
We arrived at the Abbey at 21.30, the weather was inclement, however we decided to continue as we had made the journey.

The team surveyed the whole site taking photographs. The whole team remained together and settled down for observations. During this time several noises were noted coming from the wooded area, this however was more than likely the local wildlife.

At 00.00am the investigation came to a close as another investigation had been planned for the same evening.

This is a large site, and due to the weather a full investigation could not be carried out. The team will returning in a few months time.


2004/2006 Ghost Connections UK