Abbey House, Cirencester

Abbey House, Cirencester

Abbey House, Cirencester

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Abbey House, Cirencester was a country house in the English county of Gloucestershire that developed on the site of the former Cirencester Abbey following the dissolution and demolition of the abbey at the Reformation in the 1530s. The site of the dissolved abbey of Cirencester was granted in 1564 to Richard Master, physician to Queen Elizabeth I. Dr. Master died in 1588, and it was probably either his son, George, or more probably his grandson, Sir William Master, who demolished the old monastery buildings and constructed the house depicted in an engraving of c.1710 by John Kip. This early 17th century house was five bays square, with a projecting three-storey porch and two bay windows on the entrance front facing Dollar Street. Nothing is known of the internal planning of the house, which is regrettable since this was clearly one of several Gloucestershire houses in which the traditional layout of a central hall with office and family wings was abandoned. The square ground plan adopted at the Abbey House made symmetrical external treatment easier, but caused difficulties with lighting and roofing, which seem not to have been happily resolved here, since Kip shows that internal gulleys were needed to dispose of the water from the roof.

The Master family occupied the Abbey House throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, and played an active part in the life of thet town. Four consecutive generations represented Cirencester in Parliament between 1624 and 1747, and Sir...
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