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Founded in 1139, the original abbey was granted to Sir Thomas Audley, Lord chancellor, by Henry VIII in 1538.  Around eighty years later it had been rebuilt and became the largest private residence of its day.  Join us to explore this decadent Jacobean mansion house and meet the staff in the Victorian service wing and wander the tranquil gardens to enjoy stunning views of the Essex countryside.  Light refreshments are available in the cafe and the grounds are perfect for a picnic.