Sunday 10 July 2022, from 11 am
Join us for a public open day at the two historic sites of Boxley Abbey and St Andrew's (former) Chapel. We're welcoming visitors to look behind the scenes of our annual Summer Working Party, see building conservation in action, and learn more about these two fascinating sites.
Boxley Abbey is privately owned, so this is a rare opportunity to visit this historic site and hear from experts, as well as seeing the SPAB working party in progress.
The open day will start at 11 am with an introduction to the working party and SPAB's Old House Project from SPAB director, Matthew Slocombe. You can then hear two talks from experts who will shed light on the history and daily life of the Abbey.
Dr Elizabeth Eastlake's PhD focused on Boxley Abbey and she'll share insights from her research into monastic life there during the late Medieval period. Meanwhile, Dr Michael Carter has uncovered fascinating documentation concerning the Abbey's dissolution.
Following the talks, there's an opportunity to wander around the site and see the work in progress. From building repairs to archaeological investigations and from lime burning to laser surveys, there's plenty going on this year.
The SPAB Scholars and Fellows will be on hand to explain what's happening, as will our expert craftspeople and friendly volunteers.
The Working Party is a major date in the SPAB calendar and we're thrilled to be able to open the site to more people for the open day this year.
The event is free but please pre-register to help us keep an eye on numbers.
Please note that this is a working site. Hands-on work will be in progress throughout the day and all visitors will need to take care as they tour the site. Please wear sturdy footwear and suitable clothing.
The ground is uneven in places and seating will be limited. Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns about the accessibility of the site: firstname.lastname@example.org
Parking is available on site (in fields). Please help us manage the space by sharing lifts, walking, or taking public transport where you can. The closest train stations are in Maidstone, about 10 minutes away by taxi.
We have a small number of disabled parking spaces available at the Hospitium. Please make your need known to a parking steward as you enter the site to be directed to these spaces.
Toilets are available, including an accessible toilet.
Please help us keep down the amount of single-use plastic we use by bringing a water bottle with you for your visit. We regret that we aren't able to offer refreshments to visitors on this occasion.
About Boxley Abbey
Boxley Abbey is a former monastic site near Maidstone in Kent. A remarkable survival, it is one of the most complete of the group of Cistercian abbeys which were established as daughter houses by larger monasteries. Above-ground remains include fragments of the church and cloister, the high stone wall and gateway surrounding a 23-acre inner precinct, and the intact 200ft-long ‘hospitium’. The whole inner precinct, aside from the Abbey House and its garden walls, is a scheduled ancient monument.
About St Andrew's (former) Chapel
St Andrew's (former) Chapel is a fascinating building just within the abbey's outer precinct which was purchased by the SPAB at the end of 2018. Although the role and history of this structure are still being explored by the Society, it seems to date from the 15th century and to have been built as a reliquary chapel. We hope to uncover some of this building's secrets as part of the working party and to get volunteers involved with our larger Old House Project, which is based at St Andrew's.
About the SPAB Working Party
Each year the SPAB decamps from its London HQ to put its advice and expertise into practice at its annual summer working party. Carrying out work to a specific building is where the SPAB community demonstrates its approach to the conservation and care of old buildings, allowing us to combine well-proven principles with practical repair techniques. An increasingly popular event, it offers the chance for volunteers, ranging from informed amateurs interested in buildings and history to heritage and architectural professionals, to work alongside the country’s best craftspeople.