Monument details

HER Number:758/1/5
Type of record:Archaeology
Name:Vale Royal Abbey - Refectory


The surviving refectory at Vale Royal Abbey occupies the first floor of the south cloister range. It contains a decorated open roof with moulded timbers. Dendocronology dates this roof to c.1480. To either side there is an ante room. This room and the whole south range was adapted after the Dissolution into a line of chambers

The domestic range of buildings in the Abbey were arranged around a square cloister (covered walkway) on te south side of the church.

The Cistercian monastery at Vale Royal was built on land granted by the future Edward I (1272-1307) following his escape from a shipwreck. It was originally founded at Darnhall, but this site proved to be unsuitable for a new Abbey and the new site in the manor of Connersley was chosen and named Vale Royal, reflecting its royal support. The Cistercians were a strict order who followed the rules of St Benedict, adhering to the vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience. They lived a self sufficient, secluded lifestyle with an emphasis on farming. Their un-dyed robes meant they were known as the"white monks".

In 1539, Henry VIII ordered the abolition of the many monasteries of Britain. He set out to gain their wealth and power for himself as the newly designated head of the Church of England.

Vale Royal Abbey and lands were bought for 450 pounds by Thomas Holcroft at the Dissolution. Holcroft pulled down the church and most of the buildings as ordered, and converted the west and south range of the cloister and some associated buildings into his manor house.


Monument Types

  • ABBEY (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • REFECTORY (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • RELIGIOUS HOUSE (Religious site, Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • TIMBER FRAMED BUILDING (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WALL (Wall-stone, Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
Protected Status:Scheduled Monument 1016862: Vale Royal Abbey; Listed Building (II*) 1160862: VALE ROYAL ABBEY

Related records

758/1/0Related to: Vale Royal Abbey (Monument)

Cheshire East Council and Cheshire West & Chester Council - Working in Partnership
Heritage Lottery Fund