Bisham Abbey

Bisham “Abbey”, just north of Maidenhead, is now owned by the National Sports Council.  Originally a preceptory built by the Knights Templar in the 13th century, it was added to by William Montacute, Earl of Salisbury in the C14th when he founded a priory on the site.  The Montacute and then Neville earls of Salisbury held it until 1541 when Margaret, Countess of Salisbury, was executed in the Tower by Henry VIII.  The Hoby family held it in the 16th and 17th centuries, and the Vansittart & Vansittart Neale families in the 18th-19th centuries, most of whom made changes to the house.  The house has armorial glass from the C14th, C15th, C16th and C17th, together with a few paintings from the once larger collection amassed by the Hobys and Vansittarts.

     The Society has produced the following detailed documents relating to Bisham which you can download: 

  • A History Trail of Bisham Abbey and nearby All Saints church, originally created for use in Heritage Open Days (HODS).  Paper copies of this booklet are available from the Society, price £5, via the Contact Us page.
  • A study of the Built and Chivalric Legacy of the Grandison Family.   Katherine Grandison was the wife of William Montacute, Earl of Salisbury, who founded a priory at Bisham in 1337. The priory church he built is similar to that built at Ottery St Mary by his brother-in-law, John Grandison, Bishop of Exeter, also in 1337.  Paper copies of this book are available from the Society, price £20, via the Contact Us page.




The priory church built by William Montacute provided a last resting place for him and many other Montacutes, and their successors as earls of Salisbury – the Nevilles.  However, the church was demolished during the suppression of the monasteries by Henry VIII and its exact location is unknown. Subsequent owners of the Bisham estate had to find an alternative and turned to the nearby church of All Saints which itself was successively extended.

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