An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Buckinghamshire, Volume 2, North. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1913.
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114. BRADWELL ABBEY.
(1). Bradwell Abbey, chapel (see Plate, p. 24) and house, with outbuildings, about ¼ mile W. of Bradwell Church. A priory for Benedictine monks was founded here c. 1155, but it is doubtful if the present buildings are on the original site; there are no remains of a date earlier than the 14th century, the chapel having details of that period re-set.
The Chapel (17 ft. by 9½ ft.), N. of the house, is now used as a fowl-house and lumber-shed; the walls are of limestone rubble, with much cement; the roof is tiled. It was re-built, except possibly the E. wall, early in the 17th century. In the E. wall, outside, are the springing stones of a 14th-century arch, with a semi-octagonal respond which has a moulded capital; the wall is gabled, and at the base of the gable is a length of string-course, continuing towards the N. and stopping at a straight joint above the respond. In the N. wall is a window of c. 1340, of two trefoiled ogee lights, now blocked, and semi-quatrefoil tracery under a square head with a label; at the E. end of the wall is a projection, possibly the remains of a further extension towards the N. In the S. wall is a window of two lights similar to that in the N. wall: W. of the window is a doorway of c. 1330; the moulding of the jambs and two-centred head is enriched with ball-flowers, but is partly hidden in the wall; the window and doorway are both blocked: set high up in the wall, near the W. end, are two ranges, each of three quatre-foiled circular piercings, of the 14th century; they are not grooved for glass. In the middle of the W. wall is a doorway of c. 1330, much perished and broken; the jambs had shafts with capitals and bases; the two-centred head is moulded, and had a label; the window above it is of c. 1330, and of three trefoiled ogee lights and tracery in a two-centred head with a label which has volute-stops; at each angle of the wall outside is a diagonal buttress.
Fittings—Niches: In E. wall, with moulded jambs and ogee head, moulded label with foliated finial and stops carved as grotesque beasts, carrying square pinnacles with foliated finials, over niche a gabled moulding, probably 14th-century, re-used; in E. jamb of S. window, for image, remains, with half quatre-foiled ogee head, 14th-century. Paintings: On E. wall, above springing line of roof, remains of Stuart Royal Arms; on ceiling, of seraphim and clouds, all 17th-century. Piscina: Under ledge of S. window, with plain ogee head, no basin, probably 14th-century.
The House is of two storeys and an attic, built of stone, with some brick, in the 17th century. The roofs are tiled. The plan is irregular, facing N., with two modern wings projecting towards the E. The N. front is modern. The W. side has a chamfered plinth, and between the lower storeys is a moulded string-course; on the ground floor, in the middle of the wall, are traces of a blocked doorway. On the E. side is a straight joint, probably indicating the earlier date of the outhouse which adjoins the house at the S. end; on the first floor is an old window, now blocked. The S. end of the house is gabled, and in the wall is a low chimney stack with two square shafts of thin bricks, re-built at the top; apparently it was originally part of the adjoining building. Interior:—Some of the rooms have chamfered ceiling-beams and there are several wide fireplaces, partly blocked.
The Outhouse, adjoining the S. end of the house, is probably of early 17th-century date, and is of one storey and an attic, built in two blocks, of small stone rubble; the S. block is wider than the other; on the W. side of the N. block there are no windows on the ground floor; the attic is lighted by two modern dormer windows, and in the middle is a small oak-framed loop with a stop-chamfered lintel and moulded jambs, probably of the 17th century, now blocked. On the W. side of the S. block are two 17th-century windows, with stone mullions, each of two lights, with a square head and moulded label; in the middle of the wall is a doorway, now blocked. The S. end is gabled. A Brewhouse E. of the house, and two Barns S. of the house, are built of stone, without detail by which to give an exact date, but they are probably of the 17th century.