Tupholme Abbey, Lincolnshire, England.

Tupholme Abbey was a Premonstratensian monastery, founded between 1155-65.  It was relatively small, of up to 12 canons and had limited endowments in the county of Lincolnshire. Along with other Lincolnshire monastic sites, Tupholme was involved in the wool export trade.

From the time of St Augustine’s mission to re-establish Christianity in AD 597, to the reign of Henry VIII, monasticism formed an important facet of both religious and secular life in the British Isles. Settlements of religious communities, including monasteries, were built to house communities of monks, canons (priests), and sometimes lay-brothers, living a common life of religious observance under some form of systematic discipline. It is estimated from documentary evidence that over 700 monasteries were founded in England.

The abbey was dissolved in 1536, after Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries. The property was granted to Sir Thomas Heneage of Hainton. Thereafter the site was occupied by a country house, demolished around the beginning of the 18th century and replaced in the 19th century by cottages and a farmhouse, which were also dismantled in 1986.

What remains today is a mixture of the abbey and the post-medieval buildings.

Barlings Abbey, Lincolnshire

Barlings Abbey in Lincolnshire is the remains of a Premonstratensian Abbey. It was founded in around 1154 by a local landowner named Ralph de Haya, with the first canons coming from Newsham Abbey near Grimsby.

After the Lincolnshire Rising of 1536, the abbot and 6 of the canons were executed. The Lincolnshire Rising was a protest against Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the monasteries.  At the time, Barlings was classed as one of the greater abbeys as it had an income of over £200 and was one of the wealthiest houses in Lincolnshire.

The abbey was suppressed in 1537, lead was stripped from the roof and the Abbots books and other possessions were removed and sold.  The abbey fell into ruin with much of the stonework being used to build local farm houses.

Today, not much remains, below are a few images from my recent visit.

Broomhead Hall, Sheffield.

Copyright © Sheffield City Council.

I remember as a child going on a walk around the Wilson Family estate at Broomhead near to our home in Sheffield. I recall very clearly seeing a stone outline visible though the grass where Broomhead Hall once stood. I also remember seeing what was left of the lavish gardens that once surrounded the house.  I Recall feeling a sense of sadness that such a beautiful house had been demolished and an important part of local history removed. 

There is not much information on Broomhead, what I managed to find, I got from Sheffield library, most of which has been written by local historians rather than academics. Not to say that it is not correct, but information about Broomhead does not seem to appear in any academic literature on the Lost Heritage of Britain, which there is a lot of.

Broomhead Hall was built in 1831, after the previous house had been destroyed by fire.[1]  The Broomhead estate was (and still is) the home of the Wilson family, however, the main hall was demolished in 1980.  Prior to the hall being demolished, it was used to house farm workers and to store potatoes.  It had then been an office for an insurance company as well as being requisitioned by the army during World War II[2] as many other grand houses were. The rumour locally was that the entire house was shipped over to America.  However, from my research I could only locate a staircase[3], a carved oak sideboard dated 1601, and a long oak table dated 1588, all Wilson family heirlooms, that were shipped to America.[4] Some other items from the house are now on display at Bishops’ House in Norton Lees in Sheffield.[5]  As for the fate of the stone, that still remains a mystery, but local forums say that it was used locally. 

Broomhead was not alone in it’s fate, over 1200 country houses have been demolished in England since the year 1900 and in the period between the two world wars, over five percent of country houses were demolished. [6] Looking back on this now, this is hard to believe. Imagine demolishing Chatswoth, it would be unthinkable. Prior to the 1960s, attitudes were different towards country houses and the aristocracy in general. The public felt little or no empathy for the struggles of the landed elite and the sales and demolishment of country houses was not of great public concern. I think now we generally feel very different towards country houses, regardless to attitudes towards the aristocracy, I think most can appreciate that country houses are an important part of the history and heritage of our nation.

If you are interested, the ruins of Sutton Scardsale Hall and Errwood Hall can be seen up close.


[1] Booth, J., Bygones of Bradfield Volume 2, 1988. Sheffield: Hilltop Press, p 54.

[2] Booth, J., 1988,p 55.

[3] Branston, J., Pennine People & Places – Stocksbridge & District War Memorial History of Stocksbridge – Volume Two, 1980. N.P. PP25.         

[4] Branston, J., 1980.

[5] Bishops’ House. Available Online: https://www.bishopshouse.org.uk/

[6] Hunter, M., Preserving the past: the rise of heritage in modern Britain (Stroud: Alan Sutton, 1996) p 99.