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Denny Abbey has a unique and fascinating history, having been occupied at various times by three different monastic orders. Founded in 1159 as a Benedictine monastery, in 1170 it was taken over by the Knights Templars and used as a home for aged and infirm members of the order. After the Templars’ suppression for alleged heresy in 1308, it became a convent of Franciscan nuns known as the Poor Clares. Following the dissolution of the nunnery in 1539 by Henry VIII, it became a farm and was in use until the late 1960s.
All these changes are still traceable in the building and are interpreted for visitors by graphic panels illustrated by local artist Anne Biggs.
Family-friendly activities include imaginative hands-on interactives about medieval tiles and arches.
The neighbouring Farmland Museum features a fenman’s hut, blacksmith’s and wheelwright’s workshops, village shop display and many other aspects of Cambridgeshire rural life (a separate charge applies, including for English Heritage members). The Farmland Museum hosts a range of events, children's activity days and adult art and craft workshops. Visit Farmland Museum events to find out more.