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Bradwell Abbey
Bradwell abbey chapel 0494.JPG
Chapel at Bradwell Abbey
Bradwell Abbey is located in Buckinghamshire
Bradwell Abbey
Bradwell Abbey
OS grid reference SP826395
Civil parish
  • Bradwell
Unitary authority
  • Milton Keynes
Ceremonial county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district MK13
Dialling code 01908
Police Thames Valley
Fire Buckinghamshire
Ambulance South Central
EU Parliament South East England
UK Parliament
  • Milton Keynes North
List of places
52°02′52″N 0°47′41″W / 52.047752°N 0.794656°W / 52.047752; -0.794656

Bradwell Abbey or Bradwell Priory is a Scheduled Ancient Monument, urban studies site, district and former civil parish in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, England. The site was once the location of a Benedictine priory, founded in 1155.

Historic Bradwell Priory

The Priory was established around 1154. It grew during the Middle Ages to become an important local centre, but declined during the Black Death when, amongst others, its prior William of Loughton died. The Priory was closed in 1524 (some 12 years before the general dissolution of the monasteries) and the site of the monastery and its scanty revenues were granted to Cardinal Wolsey for the endowment of his new college. All that remains today is a small chapel and a farmhouse that has become a centre for cultural activities and an Urban Studies centre. The medieval trackways converging on the abbey can still be seen in the rights of way and bridleways that have become "redways" (leisure routes for cycling and walking).

The arrival of the West Coast Main Line railway split the Abbey lands, with Bradwell village to the east of the line and the Abbey to the west. Today, the small Bradwell Abbey district includes parkland and industry outside the Abbey grounds.

Bradwell Abbey today

Today, Bradwell Abbey is an Urban Studies Centre, providing a workspace, library and guidance for visiting international town planners and students who wish to study Milton Keynes. It also hosts school visits to see its medieval buildings – the chapel is Grade I listed – its fish ponds and its physic garden, and how they have changed since then. Finally it provides meeting space to local community groups.


An annual music festival was started on the site in 1999. Performers have included Vikki Clayton in 1999, Joe Driscoll in 2005. In 2009 the festival dates were 26 and 27 June and acts performing included The Swanvesta Social Club.

Bradwell Abbey district

The modern Bradwell Abbey district is a relatively small one, sandwiched as it is between the West Coast Main Line to the east, the A5 to the west, Monksway (A422) to the north and Dansteed Way to the south. It includes a small industrial estate and the Loughton Valley flood plain "linear park". The Swan's Way long distance path and the Sustrans route 51 follow the valley.

Formally, it is in the Bradwell grid-square, but this square is split into three parts by the railway line (on an embankment) and the A5 (in a cutting).

Civil Parish

Bradwell Abbey formerly gaves its name to a civil parish on the other side of the A5. This parish has been renamed as Abbey Hill.

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