112                            THE SATURDAY MAGAZINE                          March,25, 1837

THE RUINS OF BRADSOLE, or ST.RADIGUND'S ABBEY

Near Dover

 

Theses pictureque ruins are situated about three
miles to the south-west of the town of Dover. The 
name of the foundation of the Abbey is uncertain, 
butthe date of itsfountation is aboutthe year 1191.
It appears gradually to have increased in wealth 
and consequence, and about the latter end of the reign
of Edward the Sixth was thought of suficient impotance
for the Abbots to receive a summons to Pariament.
In the twenty-seventh year of Henry the Eighth,
St.Radigund's was included in the list of suppressed 
religious institutions, and the King granted it, 
together with all its lands and possessions, to the
Archbishop of Canterbury, who however exchange
again with Henry, and it was bestowed upon his 
secretary, Cornwell, afterwards Earl of Essex, at
his ataineder it again reverted to the Crown.
The site of this Abbey is on a hill, in a most
retired and unfrequented situation; the ruins, which
are overgrown with ivy, cover a large space of ground
and show it to have not only of great extent but 
handsomely built. The walls of the entrance gateway,
which are of great thickness and strength are still 
nearly entire;  this gateway opens by a large arch 
in the centre, and has a similar arch adjoining for
foot-passengers. The north and west sides of the 
chapel, with part of the dwelling, now patched up 
as a farm-house, are also standing; the latter had 
a protecting porch in the centre, but this now forms
the end of the building. That part of the front which 
adjoins it, is curiously chequred with flint and stones, 
but the chief portion of the ruins is built of stones 
intermingled with chalk, with freestone corner-stones. 
In the farm-yard is a large pond from

 

which is supposed the name of Bradsole arose, 
the word soale, or sole, being a Kentish 
provincialism for pond.
According to a manuscript quoted by Grose, this
Abbey was a very diladated and dissipated state  
about the year 1500; owing to the extravagant 
and dissipated habits of the abbot. Common report
says the foundations of the building contains 
numerous subterranean passages, which are said 
to extend to a great distance. The whole of the 
buildings appear originally to have been surrounded
by a broad ditch of moat, enclosing a large circular
plot of land. Leland, who visited them about the 
middle of the sixteenth century, thus describes 
their state at that time;-
St.Ragidundis staneth on the toppe of a hill a little
myles by west; and sum what by sowth, from Dover. There
be white chanons, and the quier of the church is large
and fayr.The monaster ys at this time netely
mayntaned, but it appereth that in tymes past the
buildings have bene more ample than they be now.
Thereys on the hille fayre wood, but fresch water
laketh sumtyme..

 

The voice that which I did more esteem

In music in her sweetest key

Those eyes which unto me did seem
More comfortable than the day
Those now by me as they have beeb
Shall never more be heard, or seen;
But what I once enjoyed in them
Shall seem hereafter as a dream.

 

All earthly comforts vanish thus;
So little hold of them have we,
That we from they, or they from us,
May in a moment ravished be,
Yet we are neither just or wise,
If present mercies we despise;
Or mind not how there may be made,
A thankful use of what we had. 
WHETHER

A page from a once popular illustrated weekly, "The Saturday Magazine," dating from March 1837, with a view of the St Radigund's Abbey gateway, walls and farmhouse, somewhat overgrown.

 

Old barn at St Radigund's Abbey, Dover, showing bricked-in ecclesiastical type, arched windows. Possibly a 20th Century photograph

 

 

   

 

St Radigund's Abbey engraving,

late 1800s.

St Radigunds Abbey gateway and farmhouse with decaying walls of the time. 
A used postcard featuring a tinted photograph, which has a Dover postmark for March 1905. 
It was published in the Wykeham Collection series.