From its roots as a religious priory, to its history as a family home for twelve generations, Calke Abbey tells many stories. Unpeeling these layer by layer, we can explore what life was like at Calke for the people who lived and worked here, and how this unique place was shaped by the wider world.
Calke Abbey stands on the site of a medieval religious house. People first came to live at Calke in the 12th century as part of a small religious community, attracted by the secluded forest and good water supply. Calke Priory only lasted a few years as the canons moved to nearby Repton. The priory was dissolved by Henry VIII in 1538, but the canons had anticipated this and granted leases of Calke.
After passing through several hands, Richard Wendsley acquired Calke, eventually selling the estate in 1585 to Robert Bainbridge. His son sold the estate to Henry Harpur in 1622 for £5,350. It stayed in the Harpur family until the National Trust began caring for it in 1985.
When you get married at The Riding School, you are becoming a part of the Calke history and with one years free membership as a gift to you, we can revisit your wedding day again and again.