History of Kearsney Abbey


Kearsney Abbey is another fine example of a former country house and estate. The history of the site can be traced back to the Norman Conquest when it was known as Castney Court and part of the Barony of Saye, whose men maintained and garrisoned the Saye Tower at Dover Castle.

Although never a monastic estate, it takes its name from the impressive Gothic revival manor house built between 1820-1822 by local merchant and banker, John Minet Fector. He used some of the stonework from Dover's medieval old town walls and gatehouses, demolished in the early 19th century, to build a folly in the grounds. Sections of wall, arches, gate piers and bridges within Kearsney Abbey are Grade II listed.

Most of the manor house was demolished in 1950 due to extensive dry rot. However, the former billiards room in the west wing still stands, the original panelled interior and vaulted ceiling of this Grade II listed building still exists and the building was renovated in 2020/21 as part of the HLF national lottery funding. 


Historical landmarks

  • Victorian Ice House - Ice houses were introduced to Britain around 1600 but only richer houses had ice houses built. British ice houses were commonly brick lined, domed structures with most of their volume underground.

  • The Lime avenue of trees forms a natural amphitheatre leading to the open air theatre which opened in Kearsney Abbey in1951. Kearsney Abbey celebrated the Festival of Britain by hosting performances of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. 

See also