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Early Modern Britain

Map of Historic Abbey Discovered

Edited from BBC News, 12 June 2007

An historic map of Hailes Abbey in the Cotswolds was discovered in 2007. The abbey itself had been founded by the earl of Cornwall in 1246 but it lasted barely two hundred years before being closed down during Henry VIII's Reformation.

The map of the abbey was found to show many previously unknown local features. The map was dated to about 1587, during the reign of Elizabeth I, and was found in the National Archives at Kew in London, seemingly stored for years without having been properly catalogued.

It was drawn by Ralph Treswell, a renowned surveyor and cartographer. He was amongst the first in England to produce scaled plans of estates.

The document shows evidence of a twelfth century church, a water mill, and visitor or pilgrim accommodation.

It also reveals that the abbey drew water not only from the nearby lake as had previously been thought, but also from a spring in the lower Cotswold hill-slope area which collected water and directed it to the abbey through a lead pipe.

Experts who had seen the rare find stated that it had revealed for the first time a clear picture of what the Hailes Abbey site looked like shortly after the dissolution of the monasteries.

Hailes Abbey
The ruins of Hailes Abbey survive today, although the abbey's active lifetime lasted only for about two hundred years from the date of its founding in 1246



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