Secrets Of Our Combermere Abbey Tour
Estate - 26.04.22
We offer some exceptional tour options at Combermere Abbey including public tours for individuals (perfect to go on with your friends), group tours for special interest parties and the Invitation to View events booked with Historic Houses. Visitors to the Abbey have a chance to walk through our fascinating history – from 1133 to the present day!
As you can imagine, there are so many secrets to uncover in the Abbey’s 889 year history. If these walls could speak, they would have some stories to tell! As they can’t, let us instead give you a preview of some of the interesting things you’ll be given the scoop on from our tour guide Myra – or, if you’re on one of our VIP tours, the owner, Sarah Callander-Beckett –when you book onto one of our fascinating tours of the Abbey.
Secrets Of Our Combermere Abbey Tour
A Brief Overview Of The Abbey’s Beginnings
This one isn’t so much a ‘secret,’ but a key piece of history that is essential to knowing all about Combermere and its fascinating history. The Abbey began as a Cistercian monastery, with 22 monks in residence, on lands given by Hugh de Malbank, Lord of Nantwich.
The Abbey has survived the Dissolution of the Monasteries, religious arguments, civil war, debt, and family tragedy. These grounds were also originally 22,000 acres at their peak!
In 1536, the abbey was dissolved and given to Sir George Cotton, during which the abbey church and claustral buildings were removed, leaving only the Abbots House and refectory which form the heart of the current house.
Throughout the next few hundred years, the Abbey underwent extensive alterations and in 1820 extensive Gothic remodelling. In 1919, Combermere Abbey and its estate was sold to Sir Kenneth Crossley of Crossley Motors.
In 1992, and after many years of hidden decay, it was inherited by Sarah Callander Beckett from her mother, Lady Lindsay. She began an extensive restoration project which has taken 30 years, and we have seen the restoration of most of the listed buildings, the Walled Gardens (now a wedding venue), the conversion of the stable block into luxury cottages and the exciting restoration of the magnificent North Wing.
Since 1992 there have been so many changes to the Abbey – but you’ll have to join one of our tours to find out all the ins and outs of those!
The Creation of the Mere
A little-known and fascinating secret is that the mere surrounding the Abbey was, once upon a time, split into two meres! In the 18th century, they were joined and dug by hand to create the single mere you see today. The ‘big mere’ and the ‘little mere’, glacially formed during the ice age, were conjoined by hundreds of people with spades and wheelbarrows. Sounds exhausting to us!
Lord Combermere’s Ghost
We hope you’re not too easily scared… Because when you come on the tour of the Abbey, you may well hear some bumps and scrapes! The second Lord Combermere, who passed away in 1891, is said to have been caught on a long-exposure camera used to take a photo of the Abbey’s library, on the very night his body was being buried four miles away… Take a look for yourself! Are you convinced this is him, or perhaps just a servant who quickly stepped in and out of the frame after noticing a long-exposure photo was being taken? Who can be sure…
The Ley Lines
Combermere Abbey is situated on ancient ley lines, something few people know about! For the uninitiated, ley lines are markers that crisscross around the globe, like latitudinal and longitudinal lines. They are dotted with monuments and natural landforms, and are said to carry along with them rivers of mystical energy. Along these lines, at the places they intersect, there are pockets of concentrated energy, that can be harnessed by certain individuals.
You can find the marker stone that signifies the joining of two ley lines that run through the North Wing room encased in glass for visitors to look at. This was discovered during the restoration – we think it’s pretty fascinating!
During the Abbey’s restoration, a man’s shoe dating from the 1780s and a horseshoe were both found in the walls! While this might seem as though someone simply lost some items in the years since the Abbey’s creation, the explanation is actually more interesting… These items were both thought to bring good luck and ward off unwanted spirits, witches, and devils! With a potential ghost around, it seems as though these might have been very needed indeed!
If these secrets have captured your interest, there are plenty more to be discovered during the Combermere Abbey tours. These can be booked for weekday mornings or afternoons on dedicated days. To enquire about dates for booking, please email or call 01284 827087. You can find out more information on our website.