The Cistercian Abbey of St Mary which was founded in 1146. The construction of the stone buildings of the abbey appears to have been completed by circa 1170, and few alterations seem to have been carried out between that date and the monasterys suppression in 1537. The entire estate was granted to George Talbot, fourth Earl of Shrewsbury who transformed the abbey into a country house between 1560 and 1590. A now demolished north wing was added in 1679. The house was part demolished in 1956 and the site of the abbey and the converted west range has been in state care since 1959. The monastic remains consist primarily of the buried foundations of the buildings to the north, east and south of the cloister and the extant cellar, outer parlour and lay brothers frater which formed the west cloister range. Partial excavation between 1956-7 revealed the typical ground plan of a Cistercian abbey, with the church forming the north range of the cloister, the kitchen, monks frater and warming house forming the southern range, and the sacristy, chapter house, inner parlour and monks dorter the eastern range. The surviving west range is an extremely well prserved example of Cistercian architecture, being of typical plain construction with round and octagonal columns, a rib-vaulted ceiling and, in the frater, traces of the day-stair. Of particular interest within the abbeys precinct are the faint surviving traces of ridge and furrow cultivation. This is believed to pre-date the abbeys foundation and to relate to the two medieval villages which were abandoned to make way for it. Scheduled.