Visit to Newstead Abbey & Papplewick Pumping Station

640px-Newstead_Abbey_02Another of our popular ‘double destination’ days out: this time we take in an ‘abbey that never was’, once the home to romantic poet Lord Byron for several years, and Britain’s finest Victorian waterworks.

Date & Timings: Saturday, 12th July 2014
Depart from Melton Mowbray at 9.00 am. Arrive at Newstead Abbey at 10.15 am.
Depart Newstead Abbey at 2.15 pm.
Arrive at Papplewick PS at 2.30pm.
Depart Papplewick PS at 5.00 pm. Arrive at Melton Mowbray at 6.30 pm

Newstead Abbey - open me for more info

On arrival at Newstead Abbey, we will have a group photograph and a coffee break followed by a guided tour.

Newstead was never an abbey: it was a priory, the priory of St. Mary of Newstead, a house of Augustinian Canons founded by King Henry II, circa 1163, as one of many penances he paid following the murder of Thomas Becket. In the late 13th century, the priory was rebuilt and extended, and extended again in the 15th-century, when the Dorter, Great Hall and Prior’s Lodgings were added. Following the dissolution of the monasteries, in 1540 the Abbey was granted to Sir John Byron of Colwick who set about converting it to a country house. It remained in the Byron family for almost 300 years. Although the structure of the house changed over the years, it still retains much of its medieval character. The most famous survival is the iconic West Front of the church that dates from the late 13th century and is now a scheduled ancient monument. Inside the house the medieval cloisters, Chapter House (now the Chapel) and a collection of medieval stone carvings and manuscripts are indicative of the Abbey’s early history.

Heralded by many as the greatest romantic poet of his time, Lord Byron lived at Newstead Abbey at various times between 1808 and 1814 and some of his possessions are housed at the Abbey. He sold the Abbey in 1818 to Colonel Thomas Wildman. In 1861 it was purchased by William Frederick Webb. The internal structure of the Abbey was modified during their tenure. The Abbey contains many items that belonged to the families who lived in the house throughout the Victorian period. Of particular interest are the Victorian photo albums showing the Abbey, its interiors and its gardens as they were more than a century ago, and a collection of the eighteenth century views of Newstead Abbey by artist Pieter Tillemans.

The Cafe at the Abbey serves a range of refreshments including homemade soups, sandwiches and a range of hot and cold seasonal specials. The pre-booked buffet lunch at £10.00 per person appears good value. But you may prefer to enjoy a picnic overlooking the French and Spanish gardens at the rear of the Abbey. We will leave the Abbey at 2.15 pm and head for Papplewick Pumping Station.

Papplewick Pumping Station - open me for more info

This beautiful place was designed in the early 1880s to pump millions of gallons of clean fresh water every day to the rapidly increasing population of Industrial Nottingham. Today, thanks to the endeavours of The Papplewick Pumping Station Trust, a Registered Charity dedicated to the preservation of the Pumping Station, and the enthusiasm of the volunteer members of the Papplewick Association, you can still experience the most spectacular, preserved water Pumping Station in the British Isles.

Now protected as a Scheduled Ancient Monument, the highest preservation order that can be bestowed upon a site in England, the Pumping Station holds regular steaming events throughout the year. We are fortunate that a steam event coincides with our visit.

There is a small cafe on site serving drinks and light snacks. We will head for home at or shortly before 5.00 pm.

Papplewick-4pics-800The cost of £22.00 per person includes coach travel, parking, guided tour, and gratuities. Spare places may be offered to non-Society members who will be charged an additional £1 to secure temporary membership.

To reserve a place on the outing please return the completed booking form to the organizer with the full amount payable – cheques made out to the Melton Mowbray & District Historical Society – by 21st June.

DLBOOKING-butPlease enclose a stamp addressed envelope or an e-mail address so that receipt of your reservation may be acknowledged. Payments for reservations cancelled within 2 weeks of the outing may be partially refunded provided entrance tickets have not been purchased.


Organizer: Peter Raikes, 39 Cavalry Close, Melton Mowbray, LE13 0SZ. Tel: 01664 567118

Regrettably, the Society can accept no responsibility for accidents, loss of property, etc. of those participating in the Society’s events.