The view from the west end
Creake Abbey

This quiet rural backwater holds the partial remains of an Augustinian abbey. Creake began as a hospital and almshouses for the poor, with a church known as 'St Mary of the Meadow next to Burnham'.

In 1206 the hospital received funds from Sir Robert de Nerford and his wife Alice, and was reestablished as an almshouse headed by a master, four chaplains, and lay brothers. Further endowments followed in the early 13th century, and finally the house became a priory, and the master and chaplains became a prior and canons, respectively.

Finally, in 1225, Henry III made Creake a fully-fledged abbey, with the right to elect its own abbot. Creake Abbey remained a poor house, and there were never more than seven canons living here.

The slender nave pillars still stand
The slender nave
pillars still stand

Creake Abbey suffered several disasters over the centuries. In 1494 a fire destroyed the abbey church and several of the outbuildings. The king donated money, but it was insufficient to rebuild the church, so the nave and transepts were destroyed and the west end of the crossing blocked off.

Only a few years later a terrible plague killed all the canons. Only the abbot survived, but he died in 1506, and the abbey ceased to function as a religious house.

Creake reverted to the crown, but the king's mother, Margaret de Beaufort, intervened, and abbey and its lands were granted to Christ's College, Cambridge. The old church buildings were used as farm buildings, and the buildings on the east side of the cloister were used for a house.

The remains consist of foundation walls and several arches standing almost to full height. There are some architectural details, but for the most part, Creake tantalizes a visitor, who has to imagine what the original abbey must have looked like. The site is very quiet and peaceful. Some parts of the old abbey walls live on in the farm buildings beside the site.

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About Creake Abbey
Address: Abbey Farm, North Creake, East Anglia, Norfolk, England, NR21 9LF
Attraction Type: Abbey
Location: North of North Creake off B1355. Follow the road to Abbey Farm. Open site, access at any time.
Website: Creake Abbey
English Heritage - see also: English Heritage memberships (official website)
Location map
OS: TF857394
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express

Opening Details: Open access site, usually accessible at any reasonable time


HeritageWe've 'tagged' this attraction information to help you find related historic attractions and learn more about major time periods mentioned.

Find other attractions tagged with:

13th century (Time Period) - Augustinian (Historical Reference) -


Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low to exceptional) on historic interest

North Creake, St Mary's Church - 1.1 miles (Historic Church) Heritage Rating

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South Creake, St Mary's Church - 2 miles (Historic Church) Heritage Rating

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Burnham Norton, St Margaret's Church - 2.4 miles (Historic Church) Heritage Rating

Bloodgate Hill Hillfort - 2.7 miles (Prehistoric Site) Heritage Rating

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