Barking Abbey Essex antique print. This steel engraved antique print, published in 1845, is from ‘Curiosities of Great Britain. England and Wales Delineated. Historical, Entertaining & Commercial, Alphabetically Arranged by Thomas Dugdale, Antiquarian. Assisted by William Burnett.’ (Dugdale was a professional artist, whilst Burnett was a civil engineer by profession.) Together they produced a series of steel engraved prints of English and Welsh architectural and topographical features, together with County Maps.
Barking Abbey is a former royal monastery located in Barking, in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. It has been described as “one of the most important nunneries in the country”. Originally established in the 7th century, from the late 10th century the abbey followed the Rule of St. Benedict. The abbey had a large endowment and sizable income but suffered severely after 1377, when the River Thames flooded around 720 acres (290 ha) of the abbey’s land, which was unable to be reclaimed. Despite this, at the time of the dissolution it was still the third wealthiest nunnery in England. The abbey continued to operate for almost 900 years, until its closure in 1539, as part of King Henry VIII‘s Dissolution of the Monasteries. During its existence, the abbey had many notable abbesses including several saints, former queens and the daughters of kings. The abbess of Barking held precedence over all other abbesses in England. The ruined remains of Barking Abbey now form part of a public open space known as Abbey Green.