Medmenham Abbey

Medmenham Abbey. Steel engraving. From Eighty Picturesque Views of the Thames and Medway.

Text accompanying the engraving

On approaching Hambleden the reaches increase in length and become wider. Their banks are well wooded and imdulating, and the lock of this place, with its twofold wiers, adds considerably to the beauty of the landscape. The church of Hambleden (a handsome edifice) contains an antiquated baptismal font. Near the river is Greenland-Lodge, the seat of the D'Oyley family, built in 1604. At a short distance below, the stream is divided by an island: the navigable part being on the right. Flowing on for about two miles, it reaches the picturesque ruins of Medmenham abbey. This monastery was foimded in the year 1200, by Hugh de Boliber, for Cistercian monks, and as a cell to the more considerable abbey of Woburn, which owed its existence also to that nobleman's munificence, A clump of willows, near the river, marks its former extent; the foundation walls being in part still discemable, and also a solitary column, in a neighbouring meadow. The abbey house, with its ivy-mantled walls, is an interesting object, and its effect is heightened by the addition of a modern antique tower, cloisters, and other erections, corresponding with the style of the former building, and executed with great taste; so that when the hand of Time shall have rubbed off the sharp edge of the masonry, and covered it with a verdant mantle of ivy and moss, some future historian may class the modem with the ancient pile. During the last century, this abbey acquired great notoriety as the place of meeting of a club of debauchex of rank and fashion, who held their unhallowed orgies within its venerable walls; some idea of which may be formed from a perusal of "Crysal, or Adventures of a Guinea," a work much esteemed for its crtical acumen at the time, when its allusions were understood. [59]

Text and formatting by George P. Landow. [You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the University of California Library and the Internet Archive and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite it in a print one.]


Fearnside, W. G. Eighty Picturesque Views of the Thames and Medway, Engraved on Steel by the First Artists. London: Black and Armstrong, [n.d. after 1837]. Internet Archive version of a copy in the University of California at Berkley Library. Web. 30 March 2012.

Last modified 2 May 2012