Cerne Abbey, Cerne Abbas

Cerne Abbey was founded in 937 AD and dominated the village of Cerne Abbas and the surrounding area until its dissolution in 1539.


History of Cerne Abbey

The history of Cerne Abbey begins in 870, when St. Edwold refused the East Anglian crown and came to the Cerne River valley to live as a hermit instead. This is probably the reason Cerne was chosen as the site for a new monastic foundation in 987.

Cerne Abbey was founded as part of the monastic revival under King Edgar (957-975), who assigned his minister Aethelmaer to supervise it. The abbey grew and prospered over the centuries, becoming an important landowner in the area. The village of Cerne Abbas grew up around it, and most of the villagers worked for the abbey in some way or another.

What to See at Cerne Abbey

Today, all that remains of Cerne Abbey are the Guesthouse, Abbey Barn, and Abbot's Porch, but these are well worth a visit.

The Guest House and Abbot's Porch are both on the grounds of the privately-owned and occupied Abbey House, which itself incorporates part of the abbey's South Gatehouse.

Especially interesting is the Abbot's Porch, which was a late addition in 1509. It features a fine double oriel window, carved with seals and small animal figures.

Quick Facts on Cerne Abbey

Site Information
Names:Cerne Abbey
Categories:monasteries; Grade I listed buildings
Visitor and Contact Information
Coordinates:50.811150° N, 2.476352° W
Address:Cerne Abbas, England
Lodging:View hotels near Cerne Abbey
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours and prices can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.


  1. Personal visit (November 2006).
  2. Cerne Abbas - Strolling Guide

More Information

The Abbey House, now a private home. © Holly Hayes
Abbey Barn and part of the Abbey House. © Holly Hayes
The Abbot's Porch (1509). © Holly Hayes
The Abbot's Porch with double oriel window. © Holly Hayes
Interactive map of Cerne Abbey (center left marker). © Holly Hayes

Map of Cerne Abbey, Cerne Abbas

Below is a location map and aerial view of Cerne Abbey. Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.