St. Nicholas Church from South-West, 1963 – Then & Now

St.Nicholas Church from the South-West,1963
St.Nicholas Church from the South-West,1963

This pair of pictures from 1963 and 2016 shows the Abbey’s Tantara Gatehouse with St Nicholas’ Church in the background. The 1963 shot is labelled as having been taken by a J. Tarver.

As can clearly be seen from the ‘then’ picture, the gatehouse had become overgrown and it was later designated as dangerous and fenced off altogether in 1967. That same year the abbey ruins were finally reburied to prevent deterioration. The gatehouse was later extensively consolidated and repaired in 1977, at a cost of £20,000 raised by the Abbey Advisory Committee.

The ‘now’ photo shows that the graveyard is much more neatly trimmed than in 1963. A few gravestones have developed a lean and the cross in the foreground has lost its head, as seems to be the case in many of these now and then photo pairings.

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‘Clappergate’ Stile – Then & Now

Copy of old post card of 'Tumbledown stile' or 'Clappergate Stile’
Copy of old post card of ‘Tumbledown stile’ or ‘Clappergate Stile’

In the days when the Abbey Fields was a patchwork of farmers’ fields, the ‘tumbledown’ or ‘clappergate’ stile shown in this old postcard was situated in the Abbey’s Tantara Gatehouse to prevent cattle straying out of the fields. A larger field gate was situated in the main archway.

In June 1973 it was destroyed by vandals. Cyril Hobbins collected the remaining bits together and restored it. The restored clapper-gate is now situated in the ‘barn’ museum.

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