Launde Abbey

Launde Abbey is located in Leicestershire, 14 miles east of the city of Leicester and six miles south west of Oakham. The building is presently used as a Conference and Retreat Centre, by the Church of England Dioceses of Leicester and Peterborough. The Abbey is an Elizabethan Manor House, extensively modified, originally built on the site of an Augustinian Priory. The original priory was founded in 1125 by Richard Basset and his wife Matilda. Launde is set in beautiful countryside. Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII's chief minister responsible for the dissolution of the monasteries, so liked its position that he wrote in his diary "Myself for Launde". But Cromwell never occupied the house as he was executed in 1540 for treason. In that same the year the building of the new house commenced. His son, Gregory, lived at Launde Abbey for ten years after its construction with his wife Elizabeth, the sister of Jane Seymour, the third wife of Henry VIII. The chapel is thought to be all that remains of the original Priory Church. Some of its stained glass is mediaeval and Nikolaus Pevsner has described the monument to Gregory Cromwell as "one of the purest monuments of the early Renaissance in England". The chapel is used for daily worship by the resident community and guests, and is an attraction for visitors. The Abbey has now launched a £1 million appeal to bring the house up to the standards required by legislation. If the money is not raised by the beginning of September the Abbey will be forced to close.

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