TWYFORD ABBEY, LONDON


This is an old building anyway, and nearly 20 years of dereliction has done it no favours. The ingress of water means that wooden floors and staircases are now completely rotten. Trees have started growing inside and are now forcing their way out, leading to falling masonry. In short, THIS BUILDING IS UNSAFE. Hence why these pictures are just one gallery of exteriors and outbuildings - even those who have gone inside with official permission and a guide have reported on the danger of disappearing through the floor into the basement. I'd really like to see round inside, but not that much... Pics are in the Recce gallery to the left.

This site has been the subject of planning permission wrangling for many years, with even the Mayor of London getting involved. Cynical minds might think that the owners (and would-be developers) are trying to make the legal process last long enough for the existing buildings to become so unsafe that demolition is the only option, clearing the way for a new housing development.... As I say, that might be the opinion of some cynical minds; personally, I couldn't possibly comment.

The 'official' history:

Twyford Abbey started life in the middle ages as the West Twyford manor house. It belonged to the lords of the manor of West Twyford who owned the surrounding land. In 1593 it was the only inhabited house in West Twyford, with a small private chapel.

West Twyford manor house was partially demolished around 1715 and the chapel rebuilt around that time.

In 1806 the manor house was sold to Thomas Willan, a stagecoach proprietor. He wanted to turn the house into a 'Gothic' mansion. Architect William Atkinson designed an extension around the original house in a Gothic style, filled the genuine medieval moat and altered the chapel.

In keeping with the spirit of the age Willan gave his house a romantic pseudo-monastic association, calling it 'Twyford Abbey'. In 1816 Twyford Abbey was described as 'striking and extremely fine'.

This was the only building in the area, and soon the name Twyford Abbey was applied to the whole of the area of West Twyford.

In 1902 the Abbey was bought by the Alexian Brothers, a Roman Catholic order who set up a nursing home there. St. Mary's Church, disused at the time, was re-opened for weekly services in 1907.

The Alexian Brothers enlarged and changed the house several times.

The nursing home closed in 1988; since then the Abbey has lain derelict.


Twyford Abbey
Gardens at front of the Abbey, early 20th century


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