As already mentioned, we feel privileged to hold the first Well Being Event at Newstead Abbey. I have chosen to write two short articles about the Abbey before the event. After discussion with Community Members, all of us see the advantage of promoting the building, its history and its famous poet alongside the Well Being Show. It makes sense to attract as many visitors to the show as possible. Therefore enjoying a tour of the house must be an attraction to the weekend’s event.
Newstead Abbey – Part One
Newstead was never an Abbey: It was a priory: Its official title is ‘The priory of Saint Mary of Newstead. The priory was home for Augustinian Canons and was founded by Henry II around 1170 as one of his penances following the murder of Thomas Becket.
The original building was extended in the 15th Century when the Dorter, Great hall and Prior’s lodgings were added. The priory was home to eleven monks and the Prior at the time of the dissolution of the monastery.
After the dissolution the monks and Prior received pensions, and the house was surrendered to The Crown. On the 26th of May 1540, Henry VIII granted the title of the property to Sir John Byron of Colwick who converted the property into The Country House. Many additions were made to the house by his son Sir John Byron of Clayton Hall. After Sir John’s death, the property passed to another John Byron, an MP and Royal Commander who became a Baron in 1695.
Sir John was without a child, and when he died in France, ownership was passed to his brother Richard Byron. Who’s son William Byron inherited the property in 1695: His title was William Byron – The 4th Baron Byron. Richard extensively landscaped the grounds and his son (the next!) William Byron: During the custodianship of the 4th Baron, Newstead enjoyed immense prosperity and popularity. It became known as one of Englands most prestigious and beautiful estates.
We leave this short introduction at this point and return tomorrow for the second part of Newstead’s history and cover the time when its most famous inhabitant “Lord Byron”; the poet becomes a custodian.
Visitors can enjoy the full atmospheres of the building and its history during their visit to The Newstead Well Being Show.