Stapehill Abbey was originally a 19th century Cistercian abbey shrouded in beautiful, award-winning gardens, a Japanese garden, nuns’ chapel and Victorian parlour. The Holy Cross Abbey order of Cistercian Trappist nuns were resident at Stapehill from 1802 to 1991. While once nestled serenely and unassumingly between Ferndown and Wimborne, it became a popular rural life museum, craft centre and farmyard embodying life in rural England in Victorian times between 1990 and 2010. Stapehill Abbey opened its doors to the public for the final time back in 2010 but as a grade II listed building the future of this beautiful structure is protected.
Moving with the times
The Abbey itself is being converted into 20 homes while a further 25 have been constructed in the grounds. The formal gardens are also being restored as part of this work – some 82 acres of land – with work planned to preserve as many of the site’s original features and artefacts as possible. The twin chapels of the abbey, which date back to 1847 will be restored as part of the project. The development will also create a number of community allotments.