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SAWTRY ABBEY

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The Cistercian Abbey of Sawtry was founded in 1147 and dissolved in 1536-37. Soon afterwards the church, conventual buildings, gate-house, bell tower and even the old parish church of Sawtry Judith village were demolished. Building materials were removed from the site into the 19th century. Excavations took place between 1907-13. The layout of most of the abbey was recovered. The church was cruciform with short transepts and choir. The claustral range lay to the South and was typically Cistercian. To the East of the cloister lay the infirmary or perhaps Abbots lodging, and there was a guest house to the South-West of the cloister. The earthworks were resurveyed and described in detail and are well preserved. Aerial photographs show in the field beyond the abbey earthworks to the east the soilmark traces of the boundary around the Abbey grounds can be seen as a partial D-shaped embanked feature. Traces of further levelled features can also be seen within this enclosure.

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