Grey Abbey - Ards

Grey Abbey

Grey Abbey is a ruined Cistercian priory in the village of Greyabbey, County Down, Northern Ireland, currently maintained by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency. It is a monument in state care in the townland of Rosemount, beside the Rosemount estate, on the eastern edge of the village of Greyabbey in the Ards Borough Council area, at grid ref: J5829 6810.[1][2]


Grey Abbey was founded in 1193 [3] by John de Courcy's wife, Affreca, as a daughter house of Holmcultram Abbey in Cumbria. It had declined by the late Middle Ages and was dissolved in 1541. In the early 17th century it was granted to Sir Hugh Montgomery and the nave was refurbished and used for parish worship until the late 18th century.[2]


The remains consist of a church with cloister and surrounding buildings to the south. Entry is through an elaborate west door, into an aisleless nave, transepts with two chapels in each and a short chancel with tall lancet windows. The buildings around the cloister include an aisled chapter house and a refectory with reader's pulpit, although the west range and cloister walks have disappeared. Three buttresses on the south wall of the nave are part of a conservation programme carried out early in the 20th century.[2]


  1. "Grey Abbey". Environment and Heritage Service NI - State Care Historic Monuments. Retrieved 2007-12-04. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland (1983). Historic Monuments of Northern Ireland. Belfast: HMSO. p. 102. 
  3. Illustrated Dictionary of Irish History. Mac Annaidh, S (ed). Gill and Macmillan, Dublin. 2001

Coordinates: 54°32′09″N 5°33′30″W / 54.5358333333°N 5.55833333333°W / 54.5358333333; -5.55833333333

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