On Friday we had arranged to meet up with Paul's brother at the wonderful place below, not far from where he lives. The weather was fine and dry and we had a lovely walk around the gardens, lunch in the cafe and then went inside the building to have a good look around. The Abbey is administered by Nottingham City Council and amazingly we were allowed to take photos inside.
Newstead Abbey was built as an Augustinian priory, founded by Henry II about 1163, legend has it that it was founded in atonement for the murder of Thomas a Becket, and remained as a small religious community until dissolved as such by Henry VIII in 1539. A year later it was granted to Sir John Byron of Colwick who began the conversion of the priory into a family home.
Sir John Byron demolished the priory church but utilised most of the other buildings which is why the abbey still keeps the feeling of a monastic building.
During the time of William, the 5th Lord Byron the estate went into decline and the contents of the house were sold.
When the abbey was inherited by its most famous occupant, George Gordon, 6th Lord Byron best known as Lord Byron the British Romantic poet, it was empty and falling into disrepair.
The poet sold the property to a friend Thomas Wildman in 1818 who did much restoration and repair whilst still keeping the overall monastic feel of the building and he is responsible for much of its present look.
In 1861 the Abbey was bought by wealthy landowner William Frederick Webb a friend of explorer Dr David Livingstone who stayed at the abbey in the 1860s.
The estate passed to Mr Webb's children and grandchild Charles Ian Fraser who sold it to local philanthropist Sir Julien Cahn who presented it it to Nottingham City Council in 1931.