One of Suffolk’s most impressive monastic ruins of a 14th-century abbey of Premonstratensian canons. 

The Abbey, formerly known as St Mary’s Abbey, was founded in 1182 at Minsmere by a powerful lawyer named Ranulf de Glanville, Lord Chief Justice to King Henry II. In 1363 the Abbey was transferred to Leiston, and its Patron Robert de Ufford, Earl of Suffolk, devoted his last years to the building. The order of the Abbey was a House of Augustinian Canons Regular who followed the Premonstratensian rule. Unlike monks, their main duties were preaching and pastoral work. This site is maintained by English Heritage.

Following the Dissolution Act in 1536, Leiston Abbey was granted to Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk and brother-in-law to Henry VIII. The Abbey became a farm, the farmhouse being built into the ruins. Later, a Georgian front was added to the house, which was extended in the 1920s.

In 1928 the Abbey ruins and farm was bought by Miss Ellen Wrightson for use as a religious retreat. When she died in 1946, she bequeathed the house, ruins, land and buildings to the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich.

Open year round at any reasonable time. Free admission.

Address:
Abbey Rd
Leiston