Newstead was founded by Henry II as an Augustinian priory c1163. It was dissolved by Henry VIII in 1539 and sold to Sir John Byron of Colwick. The priory was converted into a country house and belonged to the Byron family until the 6th Lord Byron, the poet, sold it in 1817. It was bought by Waterloo hero Colonel Wildman who carried out extensive alteration to the building and its grounds. The house then was sold to the Webb family who continued the alterations to both house and gardens. The Abbey was passed down through the family, and then sold to Julien Cahn who presented it to the City of Nottingham to be preserved for future generations. The Abbey is now a busy thriving museum and visitor attraction with extensive parkland, including woodland, lakes and a stunning Japanese Garden. The house itself contains a large collection of Byron’s personal effects as well as room settings from the sites fabulous history.
The most famous survival is the iconic West Front of the church, which dates from the late 13th century and is now a scheduled ancient monument. Inside the house the medieval cloisters, Chapter House (now the Chapel) and a collection of medieval stone carvings and manuscripts enable visitors to discover the Abbey’s early history.