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Cistercian Abbeys: TILTY

Name: TILTY Location: nr Great Dunmow County: Essex
Foundation: 1153 Mother house: Warden
Relocation: None Founder: Maurice fitz Geoffrey
Dissolution: 1536 Prominent members:
Access: Land accessible to the public

Tilty abbey was established in 1153 by Maurice fitz Geoffrey and his overlord Robert de Ferrers, earl of Derby. The abbey was colonised by monks from Warden and was situated on a tributary of the river Chelmer. Ralph of Coggeshall’s chronicle credits the second abbot, Simon (c. 1188-1214), with building the entire monastery. On Christmas day 1215 the abbey was sacked by King John' soldiers and it took five years to reconstruct the newly-finished church. At the time of the Dissolution the net annual income of the house was valued at £167; the abbey was suppressed in 1536.

Today the remains of the monastery include some fragments of the external walls of the church and part of the western range of the cloister. The parish church of St. Mary incorporates the gatehouse chapel, which dates from the thirteenth century. Surviving fragments of the monastery lie to the north of Tilty parish church and much of the precinct is denoted through marks on the ground. The site is open to the public although there is no formal access.