The Weald of Kent, Surrey and Sussex
Otham Abbey    Otham Court Lane  Hailsham  

Books and other documents
PublishedTitle, author and references
1901The History of the Parish of Hailsham, The Abbey of Otham and the Priory of Michelham by L.F. Salzmann ⇒ p. 173

Historical records

c 1180HistoryOtham AbbeyHistory of Hailsham
In the reign of Henry II, Ralph de Denne founded an abbey on his land at Otham; it appears from the foundation charter that there was already a chapel on the spot, and this became the nucleus of a monastry of Premonstratensian Canons, a reformed branch of the Augustinians founded by Norbert at Premonstré in Picardy in 1121, and sometimes called White Canons from their dress. The exact date of foundation is not known, but would appear from the names of the witnesses to the charter to have been around 1180.

c 1205HistoryLady Ela de Marci [Sackville] [Dene]Otham AbbeyHistory of Hailsham
The position of Otham was soon found to be very inconvenient; situated out in the marshes and even now almost inaccessible after heavy rainfall; it must have been unhealthy and ucomfortable to a degree; and after about twenty years proposals were made to remove the seat of the Abbey; the first site offered was Hellingly, but about 1205 Sir Robert de Turnham determined to found an abbey at Bayham on the borders of Sussex and Kent, and for that purpose transplanted a small colony of Premonstratensians who had settled at Brockley in Kent; and as these were not enough for an abbey of the size of his new foundation he also obtained the leave of Ela De Sackville, the patron of Otham, to remove the latter establishment to this more favourable situation; so that after that date Otham ceased to be more than a grange of Bayham Abbey.

20th Jan 1526HistoryOtham AbbeyHistory of Hailsham
On 20th of January, 1526, the lands of Bayham Abbey, including Otham, were granted to Cardinal Wolsey, but the chapel of Otham appears to have continued in use for anothrt 20 years or so and to have been regarded as a parish church.

4th May 1535HistoryOtham AbbeyHistory of Hailsham
Letter from Thomas Prior of Michelahm: "My Lord Warden [George Boleyn, Lord Rochford] has obtained of the King the manor of Otham amongst other lands of Begham Abbey lately suppressed by the cardinal. … The Lord Warden has now sold the manor to William Kenslye …"

1563 to 1661HistoryOtham AbbeyHistory of Hailsham
William Kenchley was succeeded by his son John who, dying in 1563, left the manor to his wife … In 1610 James Thetcher was lord of the manor … John Acton was lord of the manor in 1661

1694HistoryOtham AbbeyHistory of Hailsham
In 1694 John Axton sold the manor to Thomas Medley, of Coneyburrows, near Lewes, Esq., with whose descendants it remained for 180 years.

1796HistoryJulia Annabella Shuckburgh [Evelyn]Otham AbbeyHistory of Hailsham
Otham and other Sussex estates passed to George Medley and on his death in 1796 to his niece Julia Annabella Evelyn and her husband Sir George Augustus William Shuckburgh, Bart.; their daughter and heir Julia Evelyn Medley Shuckburgh-Evelyn carried the estate by marriage to the Hon. Charles Cecil Cope Jenkinson, subsequently Earl of Liverpool.

1879HistoryOtham AbbeyHistory of Hailsham
In 1879 the manor was sold to the Duke of Devonshire

1901The Chapel and House, OthamThe Chapel and House, OthamHistory of Hailsham

1901South Wall of Chapel, OthamSouth Wall of Chapel, OthamHistory of Hailsham

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