Canonsleigh Abbey


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1003830

Date first listed: 02-Apr-1953


Ordnance survey map of Canonsleigh Abbey
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Devon

District: Mid Devon (District Authority)

Parish: Burlescombe

National Grid Reference: ST 06827 17428


Reredorter and other structures forming part of Canonsleigh Abbey.

Reasons for Designation

From the time of St Augustine's mission to re-establish Christianity in AD 597 to the reign of Henry VIII, monasticism formed an important facet of both religious and secular life in the British Isles. Settlements of religious communities, including monasteries, were built to house communities of monks, canons (priests), and sometimes lay-brothers, living a common life of religious observance under some form of systematic discipline. These ranged in size from major communities with several hundred members to tiny establishments with a handful of brethren. Monasteries were inextricably woven into the fabric of medieval society. The Augustinians were not monks in the strict sense, but rather communities of canons - or priests - living under the rule of St Augustine. In England they came to be known as `black canons' because of their dark coloured robes. The Augustinians made a major contribution to many facets of medieval life. A nunnery was a settlement built to sustain a community of religious women. Its main buildings were constructed to provide facilities for worship, accommodation and subsistence. Nunneries were established by most of the major religious orders of the time, including the Augustinians. The partial remains of Canonsleigh Abbey will contain important archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, use and landscape context.


See Details.


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 5 November 2015. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

This monument includes the Reredorter and other structures forming part of an Augustinian religious house known as Canonsleigh Abbey situated beside the western bank of the Grand Western Canal. The Reredorter survives as 6m high rectangular building with an underlying culvert. Other structures and features are associated with this building, some of which are buried. Canonsleigh Abbey was first founded as a house for male Augustinian canons by William de Claville between 1161 and 1173. It was refounded by Maud, Countess of Devon as an abbey for Augustinian nuns in 1282. The convent numbered 19 at the Dissolution.

The Reredorter is also listed.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: DV 296

Legacy System: RSM - OCN


PastScape Monument No:- 188139

End of official listing