From The Neolithic To The Sea: A Journey From The Past To The Present

Beauchief Abbey

53° 19' 59.5" N 1° 30' 3.4" W
Pre 1172

  • History
  • Gallery
  • Gallery
Beauchief Abbey pronounced 'bee-chiff' is an Abbey located in Sheffield, Yorkshire in Beauchief park. It was founded by Robert Fitzranulph, Lord of Alfreton, Norton and Mameham. Dedicated to St. Thomas Beckey, whose murder is depicted on one of the abbeys seals. Some historians think he built the abbey to appease his guilt. This is disputed with claims he had no connection with the murder.

The abbey was of the Premonstratensian Order, founded by Saint Norbert at Prémontré in France, they are known as White Canons. The mother house was Welbeck Abbey who had seven daughter houses including Beauchief Abbey. The abbey was a small site with around twelve canons and an abbot. The canons were ordained priests who travelled out to the nearby villages, also providing vicars for the local parish churches.

The abbey controlled large areas of land, as far away as Chesterfield and Hathersage. As the centre of a busy community, including farm and woodlands, mills and iron workings. The mills were scattered on local rivers such as the Sheaf. Fresh water was needed for drinking, cooking and washing, also for flushing latrines, two streams provided this and water for the fish ponds. Fish was important to the mediaeval diet, two pond still survive.

The Abbey was dissolved in 1537 and the estate became the property of Sir Nicholas Strelley for £223, after King Henry VIII's commissioner closed the abbey. The abbey lands were split and sold. His descendants, who were also connected to the Pegge family through marriage, sill owned the abbey estate until 1923. The now ruined abbey buildings were dismantled to provide stone for the construction of Beauchief Hall in 1671 except for the bell tower. The tower area was converted into the Pegge family chapel, built in the 17th century using stone remains from the abbey, the interior displays several armorial plaques of Pegge family members. The chapel was still holds services today. The abbey farm was built around the same time.