Record Details

NHER Number:10344
Type of record:Monument
Name:Langley Abbey


Langley Abbey, a house of Premonstratensian Canons, was founded in 1195 by Roger Fitz Roger of Clavering. It housed fifteen to twenty canons and was dissolved in 1536. The site is enclosed by a moat. Parts of the cloisters, church, gatehouse, chapter house and infirmary survive. Most of these date to the 13th or 14th century although the remains of the gatehouse are largely 16th century. The ruined buildings have been investigated by excavation in the early 20th century. Some of the remains have been converted into a barn and agricultural store. A farmhouse was built here in the 18th century. There are also earthworks around the upstanding remains which have been surveyed and are visible on aerial photographs and visualised lidar data.


  • Langley Abbey.  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service
  • Langley Abbey.  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service


Grid Reference:TG 3624 0291
Map Sheet:TG30SE

Full description

Premonstratensian Canons of Alnwick founded 1195 by Roger Fitz Roger of Clavering. (S1) records foundation as 1198.
Inner gatehouse; church, east end south chapel with remains of arcade; west end south aisle; south jamb west door; chapter house; gatehouse; infirmary south-east angle.
Dissolved 1536.
R.R. Clarke, (NCM).

(S2) dates remains to 13th to 15th centuries. Aerial photography shows earthworks to northwest of ruins, and enclosing moat.

J. Lodey (NAU) 1982 reports a fine vaulted undercroft (now used as barn) and jettied stables with living quarters above.

Part excavated 1908, again 1921 to 1922 (copy of notes in Bolingbroke Collection) and again 1948 by boys of Langley School mainly cleaning up walls excavated by [1] in 1921 to 1923.
R.R. Clarke (NCM).

See detailed description in (S3).
Farmhouse is around 1800.

Site visited by A. Rogerson (NLA) June 1994 after moat cleaned out, (S4) in file.

See file for NHER 10304 for report by [2] describing earthworks he regards as fishponds, chapel site and underlying manorial site.
See [3].
E. Rose (NLA), 22 September 1995.

1996. Earthwork Survey.
Site extended to northeast by earthwork survey at 1:1000 by B. Cushion (NLA) supersedes the above-mentioned report.
See (S5). This site was included in (S9) and the survey is also noted in (S26).
E. Rose (NLA), 14 November 1996.

Possibly includes original site of village cross.
See discussion under NHER 11724 and in file.
E. Rose (NLA), 1 March 2001.

Notes on 19th century fireplaces within house in file.
See (S6).
E. Rose (NLA), 18 October 2001.

July 2002. Visit.
Site visit as part of plans to open complex to public. Not possible to make detailed record in circumstances, but though (S3) for the cellarium is adequate, that for the stables is not. The interior clearly shows the range has been extended to north and south in timber framing different to the original work, and the lower walls of this contain reused stone - probably 17th century. At the south end of the cellarium is a more recent set of stables, 19th century brick, internal fittings not of interest, but base of south wall is older. Earthworks at this date overgrown with nettles etc.
E. Rose (NLA), 18 July 2002.

See (S7) in file for a useful summary.
D. Gurney (NLA), 27 May 2003.

October 2005
Scheduled monument consent granted concerning the conversion of an agricultural store to farm management office accommodation
See (S8) for further details
H. White (NLA), 23 March 2009

June 2007. Norfolk NMP
Earthworks and cropmarks relating to Langley Abbey are visible on aerial photographs (S10-S21). The earthworks have previously been recorded by ground survey (S5, S9). The abbey occupies a roughly trapezoidal site on the edge of the marshes to the south of the River Yare. The boundary of the site, and perhaps also the precinct, is marked by an extant and earthwork ditch or moat. The extant ditch is present on the southern and eastern sides of the site. The broad earthwork moat defines the north-west and part of the south-west sides of the site. Several ranges of buildings are visible as parchmarks in the grass in the southern part of the site. These are located between TG 3629 0274 and TG 3639 0277. The southern and northern areas of site are divided by earthworks of boundary banks and ditches. Cropmarks of further possible structures are present in the northern area at TG 3608 0298, TG 3615 0296 and TG 3622 0300. Two pond-like earthworks are located on the eastern side of the site at TG 3637 0286 and TG 3627 0300. To the east of the main area of the site are cropmarks and soilmarks of banks and possible drainage ditches. The standing structural remains of the abbey buildings were not mapped.
J. Albone (NMP), 22 June 2007.

Licence to crenellate granted 15 September 1346.
Information from (S21).

June 2009. Repairs to the barn.
Scheduled monument consent granted concerning retiling of the north roof, thatch repairs to the south roof, truss repairs, demolition of modern agricultural plant and silos, repairs to the door and windows, new staircase in timber and glass, new glazed screen and doors behind the renewed barn doors.
See (S8) for further details.
H. White, (NLA), 24 August 2009.

July 2009.
Scheduled monument consent granted concerning the consolidation and repointing of the ruined walls of the east cloister.
See (S8) for further details
H. White, (NLA), 11 August 2009.

March 2010. Watching Brief.
Monitoring of ongoing development at the junction of the northern wall of the gatehouse and the north-western corner of the barn/western range. Range of features identified including some contemporary with the original use of the abbey.
See report (S24). The results of this work are also summarised in (S27).
D. Holburn (HES), 13 September 2011. Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 6 March 2015.

A booklet / guide has also been published (S25).
D. Gurney (HES), 8 October 2012.

2013. Dendrochronological Survey.
Samples taken from timbers within former west cloister and former stables for tree-ring analysis.
This analysis resulted in the construction and dating of two site sequences, one containing 3 samples and spanning the period AD 1313–1424 and the second containing 26 samples and spanning the period AD 1436–1611.
The roof of the former west cloister was shown to contain a timber felled in AD 1605-1630.
The south end of the former stables has a truss constructed from timber felled in AD 1433-1458, although the remainder of the sampled timber from this building is late 16th and early 17th century in date.
See report (S28) for further details.
P. Watkins (HES), 22 August 2019.

August 2015. Trial Trench.
Evaluation of site of proposed new building to south of post-medieval stable block.
This trench evealed the robbed out remains of what had probably been a substantial north-to-south aligned wall and a possible clay post pad. Both are likely to have been associated with medieval monastic structures. This area appeared to been significant disturbed during the post-medieval period, with no medieval floor surfaces surviving.
Two small test pits excavated against the southern wall of the adjacent stables found no evidence to suggest that this structure was built on earlier footings.
See report (S29) and NHER 61930 for further details.
P. Watkins (HES), 2 November 2016.

April 2017. Test Pitting.
Test pits excavated on the route of a proposed new driveway to the south of the farmhouse revealed deposits that appear to have been primarily associated with post-medieval phases of activity. A ditch associated with a previously identified linear earthwork was the only negative feature identified. Residual medieval finds included brick fragments, glazed roof tiles, a Flemish floor tile, a fragment of worked stone and a lead stylus.
See NHER 64343 and report (S29) for further details.
P. Watkins (HES), 28 August 2020.

October 2021. Broads Hidden Heritage: Aerial Perspectives.
Earthworks relating to Langley Abbey are visible on visualised lidar data from a survey flown in 2017-18 (S31). For the most part these have been mapped by earlier surveys (described above), but some additional elements may be visible, or may be clearer than on other sources. Additionally, more scattered earthworks have been identified across the marshes to the north of the site (NHER 64922), and it is possible that some of these were contemporary with the abbey and were part of its wider landscape.
S. Tremlett (Norfolk County Council, Historic Environment Service), 13 October 2021.

Monument Types

  • CAUSEWAY (Unknown date)
  • POND (Unknown date)
  • ABBEY (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BANK (EARTHWORK) (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BOUNDARY DITCH (Medieval to 19th Century - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • BOUNDARY MARKER (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BUILDING (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CROSS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ENCLOSURE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FISHPOND (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • MOAT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • MONASTIC PRECINCT? (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ROAD (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • HOUSE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds

  • FLOOR TILE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ROOF TILE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • ROOF TILE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

  • Listed Building
  • Listed Building
  • Listed Building
  • Scheduled Monument
  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Article in Serial: Ellison Erwood, F. C. 1923. The Premonstratensian Abbey of Langley, Co. Norfolk. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XXI pp 175-234.
---Serial: 1948. The Icenian.. No 113, pp 6-7 plan.
---Designation: [unknown]. Ancient Monuments Form. SAM Record. DNF48.
---Article in Serial: Clapham, A. W. 1926. The Architecture of the Premonstratensians, with special reference to their Buildings in England. Archaeologia. Vol 75 (Second Series) pp 117-146. Fig 11.
---Serial: Blomefield, F.. 1809. An Essay Towards a Topographical History of the County of Norfolk.. Vol X. 375.
---Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1970. OS 70-173-160.
---Drawing: Various. Various. Architectural plans.
---Record Card: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards. TG 30 SE 1 [6].
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1984. £3950 grant for stable repairs. 7 April.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1985-1987. [Articles on the grants for the restoration of Langley Abbey].
---Publication: Knowles, D. and Hadcock, R. N. 1971. Medieval Religious Houses of England and Wales. pp 184, 190.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2010. Breathing new life into an ancient abbey. 3 July.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2010. Abbey's owner look back on successful first season. 1 September.
---Leaflet: Langley Abbey: Discover the Norfolk Broads magnificent 12th century monastery and farming estate..
---Photograph: 1986. Photographic record of Langley Abbey. Print.
---Photograph: Photographic record of Langley Abbey. Print.
---Photograph: Photographic record of Langley Abbey. Print.
---Photograph: Photographic record of Langley Abbey. Print.
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Medieval. Langley [2].
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---*Rolled Plan: Large Plan Exists.
---Slide: Various. Slide.
---Unpublished Report: Welsh, T. C. 1995. Report of a Survey of the Vicinity of Claxton Castle, Norfolk.
---Collection: Norfolk Historic Environment Record Staff. 1975-[2000]. HER Record Notes. Norfolk Historic Environment Service.
<S1>Monograph: 1901. The Victoria History of Norfolk. The Victoria History of the Counties of England. Vol 1.
<S2>Monograph: Pevsner, N and Wilson, B. 1999. Norfolk 2: North-West and South. The Buildings of England. 2nd Edition. p 514.
<S3>Designation: Historic England. National Heritage List for England. List Entry 1050633.
<S4>Unpublished Document: Rogerson, A.. 1994. Langley Abbey. Site Visit.. 15 June.
<S5>Unpublished Report: Cushion, B. 1996. Langley Abbey SMR10344. Earthwork Survey Report.
<S6>Unpublished Document: Rose, E.. 2001. Langley Abbey Farmhouse. A note on the fireplaces. 18 October.
<S7>Unpublished Document: Williamson, T.. 2002. Report for Broads Authority.
<S8>Designation: DCMS. [?]-2016. Scheduled Monument Consent. SAM Consent. DNF48.
<S8>Designation: DCMS. 2005. Scheduled Monument Consent.
<S9>Monograph: Cushion, B. and Davison, A. 2003. Earthworks of Norfolk. East Anglian Archaeology. No 104. p 143.
<S10>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1978. NHER TG 3602A-B (NLA 66/AMD11-2) 12-JUL-1978.
<S11>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1977. NHER TG 3602J-M (NLA 50/AKA9-12) 28-JUL-1977.
<S12>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1977. NHER TG 3602P (NLA 44/AHU17) 06-JUL-1977.
<S13>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1977. NHER TG 3602S-T (NLA 56/ALC21-2) 02-AUG-1977.
<S14>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1981. NHER TG 3602V-AA (NLA 117/ARK12-7) 17-AUG-1981.
<S15>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1980. NHER TG 3602AD-AE (NLA 101/AQL11-2) 07-AUG-1980.
<S16>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1980. NHER TG 3602AG-AJ (NLA 84/ANX13-5) 16-JUN-1980.
<S17>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (AAF). 1979. NHER TG 3602 AL-AM (AAF 198/23-4) 27-JUL-1979.
<S18>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1983. NHER TG 3602AN-AT (NLA 137/ATP18-23) 29-JUL-1983.
<S19>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1983. NHER TG 3602AU-AW (NLA 135/ATC10-2) 21-JUL-1983.
<S20>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1990. NHER TG 3602ABW-ABX (NLA 271/GCX9-10) 12-JUL-1990.
<S21>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1996. NHER TG 3602ACD-ACF (NLA 368/JCL10-2) 08-JUL-1996.
<S22>Website: Davis, P..
<S24>Unpublished Contractor Report: Clarke, G. 2010. Archaeological Monitoring at Langley Abbey, Norfolk. Archaeological Watching Brief Report. Oxford Archaeology East. 1149.
<S25>Publication: Mutton, B.. n.d.. Langley Abbey.
<S26>Article in Serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. (eds). 1997. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 1996. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLII Pt IV pp 547-564. p 554.
<S27>Article in Serial: Gurney, D. and Hoggett, R. 2010. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk in 2009. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLVI Pt I pp 135-147. p 141.
<S28>Monograph: Arnold, A. and Howard, R. 2014. Langley Abbey, Langley with Hardley, Norfolk. Tree-ring Analysis of Timbers: Scientific Dating Report. English Heritage Research Report Series. 25-2014.
<S29>Unpublished Contractor Report: Newman, J. 2015. Proposed Swimming Pool at Langley Abbey, Langley with Hardley, Norfolk. John Newman Archaeological Services.
<S30>Unpublished Contractor Report: Emery, G. 2017. An Archaeological Test Pit Evaluation for a proposed driveway & electrical substation at Langley Abbey, Norfolk. Norvic Archaeology. 94.
<S31>LIDAR Airborne Survey: Environment Agency. Environment Agency LIDAR Data. NATIONAL LIDAR PROGRAMME DTM 1m 26-MAR-2018.

Related records

MNO2478Related to: Former Stable Block to Langley Abbey Langley Green LANGLEY WITH HARDLEY (Revoked)
MNO2490Related to: Langley Abbey Remains Langley Green LANGLEY WITH HARDLEY (Revoked)

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