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Netley Abbey

Netley Abbey. Photo by Ann Pacifico We had a little water party yesterday; I and my two nephews [George and Edward Knight] went form the Itchen Ferry up to Northam, where we landed, looked into the 74, and walked home, and it was so much enjoyed that I had intended to take them toe Netley to-day; the is tide is just right for our going immediately after noonshine, but I am afraid there will be rain; if we cannot get so far, however, we may perhaps go round from the ferry to the quay."

Jane Austen to her sister Cassandra
Monday, 24 October 1808

Netley Abbey was founded by monks in 1239. If you find Southampton on the map , you can see why Jane Austen crossed over to it by ferry. Now the distance can be covered by bus. The Abbey is close to the water in a wooded area. The little town that is near it was not developed until Victorian times. There must have been some facility at the ferry landing when JA visited but not much more. The ruins are quite substantial. One of the windows has the same characteristics of the window in Westminster Abbey and it is believed that the same mason worked on both windows.

Not much is known about the it's history except it was disolved as an Abbey and converted into a private mansion in 1536. In the 18th century, a builder started to demolish it but was killed by falling masonry so the site was left alone. There is a castle not far away along the shoreline which was one of Heny VIII's forts. One guide book, "Hampshire and the Isle of Wright", says, 'the castle has been converted to a Victorian Gothic folly.' Current visitors may have difficulty getting a close view because of construction. Apparently it is being being turned into an apartment building or something.

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