Scheduled Ancient Monument

The extensive grassland fields around the farm house form part of a Scheduled Ancient Monument (SAM), the site of an Augustinian Abbey and associated fish ponds.  Owston Abbey was founded in 1161 by Robert Grimbald who gave the church and Parish of Owston to Canons of the Augustinian order.  In 1440 there were 15 Canons, although by 1528 there was said to be as few as 4.  The Abbey was closed in 1536 on the orders of Henry IIIV, along with all smaller religious houses.

Owston Church Today
The present Owston Church is the only part of the medieval abbey church remaining.  It now consists of a knave (12th Century), a large north aisle (1250) and a tower (13th Century).  A chancel was said to be ruined in 1556 and this was almost certainly the monastic part of the church. 

An engraving done by the Buck Brothers in 1730 shows the Gate House at Owston Abbey which was demolished around 1790.  The secular part of the Abbey which is now Owston Church does not appear to have changed at all. 

Abbey & Fishpond earthworks
In the valley to the west of the church are a set of very fine earthworks which include:

1. The earthworks of the gate house
2. The earthworks for the fishponds complex which demonstrate excellent water engineering by the monastic community. 
3. An area of terraces on rising ground which may have been a Sacred Garden or Gethsamane.

 Owston Church  
 Owston Abby engraving  
  Map of earthworks    

Fishponds were extremely important for monastic communities as they provided a consistent supply of protein.  The Time Team visited Owston Abbey in 1992 and part of their work included taking soil cores from the bottom of the fish pond sites.  They found remains of the following species of fish: bream, chubb, rudd, perch, pike and roach. 




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