Anske Bax

Architecture PhD Student

The Afterlife of An English Monastery: St. Radegund’s Abbey Dover

St. Radegund’s Abbey represents one of the most significant monastic sites in England, with notable Royal visits including King John and Edward I. Clues of its former status are within its ruins and colossal Gatehouse. Yet, despite its power as a ruin, it stands as one of the lesser-known monuments with little mention in the wider corpus of monastic-literature. The architectural development of this Premonstratensian Abbey, one of the smallest religious houses (just 3%) in England remains highly enigmatic. An investigation highlights a reconstruction hypothesis with detailed visuals, drawing on a new survey and re-examination of the historical and archaeological evidence. Research into the constructional evolution provides a portrait of the periods cultural, social, and economic themes and in doing so addressees wider monastic issues of interpretation. The study elucidates the place of St. Radegund’s in the development of Norman and Gothic architecture. The ‘Afterlife’ known as the present-day farmhouse serves as an excellent example of monastic re-use in the half century following the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536. One that has received very little scholarly attention. The main thrust of the study into its final remodelling, sheds new light into the significance, value and patterns of monastic re-use and the conversions of the monasteries. St Radegund’s country house opens a window into the contemporary expectations of domestic comfort, architectural planning and language in the Early Modern Period.