The abbey of Denny is located about 5 miles
north of Cambridge. It was founded in 1159 for Benedictine monks
and subsequently modified for use by the Knights Templar who occupied
the site between 1170 and 1308. In 1324 Mary de St. Pol, Countess
of Pembroke, purchased the site with the purpose of establishing a house
of Franciscan Minoresses. She remodeled the south transept for her
own lodging and constructed the nunnery around an open court cloister off
the north transept. There were 41 nuns recorded in 1379. The nunnery
was wealthy; between 1342 and 1416 it was granted four manorial estates
from which it received the income. The net income of the community
in 1535 was over 172 pounds and 35 nuns were still living at Denny at the
time of the Dissolution in 1538. Thus Margery Kempe, who writes
of her invitation to visit the abbey, would be desirous of recording her
relationship with the prestigious foundation. After the Dissolution
the transept and choir of the abbey church were converted into a farmhouse.
The Cloister was destroyed but the refectory or eating hall where the abbess
received Kempe is still extant. The single-story structure is in
Christi, P. M., and Coad, J. G. "Excavations at Denny Abbey." Archaeological Journal 137 (1980): 138-279.
DA1 Denny Abbey (Cambridgeshire) Transept converted into farmhouse, former side of nave. Arch remains showing the location of the crossing.
DA2 Denny Abbey (Cambridgeshire) Transept converted into farmhouse. South transept arm and choir.
DA3 Denny Abbey (Cambridgeshire) Norman (12th-century) door in former choir area.
DA4 Denny Abbey (Cambridgeshire) Refectory were Margery Kempe was received by Franciscan nuns.
DA5 Denny Abbey (Cambridgeshire)
Detail of 14th century window in refectory.