The last remaining ruins of Dieulacresse Abbey can be found on Abbey farm located on Abbey Green road which runs into the town of Leek. Permission has to be obtained from the present owners of Abbey Farm before the ruins can be viewed. Although not much remains of the original abbey many interesting features can still be seen in the outbuildings of Abbey farm, these features in the past would have been part of the abbey.
The remains of the Abbey
Most of the stone work used in the building of the cow sheds, dairy and other buildings have come from the abbey along with arches, gargoyles etc which can still be clearly seen.
Also the Abbey Inn close to Abbey farm has been constucted mainly from stone taken from the abbey.
The abbey was used as a monastery by Cistercian Monks, the abbey dominated trade in the area as well as religious life until the dissolution of the Monasteries under King HenryVIII in 1538.
Close to the abbey is a mysterious wood called Hillswood which is said to contain a healing tree, and also in modern times ghostly barking has been heard coming from this wood which is said to come from the Mastiff hunting dogs which once belonged to the Abbot who lived at the abbey.
These dogs raised the alarm when Demons approached Earl Ranulph’s death bed attempting to claim his soul. Also in the grounds of Abbey farm at the end of their drive can be found a Hermit’s cave, it is thought that a strong Ley line runs through this site.
At some time in the past there would have been some sort of building in front of the cave. If the cave had contained an Anchorite Monk, this would have meant that the monk would have been unable to leave this spot, hence the term Anchorite (anchored to the spot). This would have meant food and water would have had to have been brought to him by someone in the area. The following account is taken from the book “Olde Leeke” and is as follows, “The early English hermit chose the sunny face of a rock in which to cut cells. And in the red sandstone rock as you go to the abbey from the Surrey pavement you notice a cave. Going to it you see further that it has been divided into three cells; two occupying the now open front of the cave and one behind them driven some feet into the rock. The right hand front cell was the hermit’s living room; for just inside his door-the right jamb(half buried in earth) of which remains- he had his fireplace, and a chimney groove creeps up the rock. The whole front of the cave was protected from the weather by a wall or watling. A roof-the weather groove of which still remains-was drawn over the open space from the rock to that front wall, one large beam being used to support it. The little cell to the left hand has a small awmbry in it for books, and the rocky wall at the back of it is ornamented with rough incised lines of a pattern which reminds one of the seven branched candlestick at Jerusalem, as figured on the arch of Titus at Rome. This was doubtless the ancient chapel of Saint Mary. The whole cave is very interesting. It has been carefully and cleverly constructed both in the rock cutting and in the bit of frontal building (now entirely demolished) which has left its traces on the rock”.