There are just five cities in the country having official residences for their Mayors. Winchester is justly proud to be one of this select group.
Abbey House is an elegant property erected in about 1700 and sited in the beautiful Abbey Gardens just off The Broadway in Winchester. The house stands on the site of a monastic establishment known as Nunnaminster and later as St. Mary's Abbey, which was founded around AD900 by Alfred's Queen Ealhswith. The Abbey survived until the late 1530s when it was formally surrendered to the Crown as part of the Dissolution of the Monasteries, and many of the buildings were demolished.
Records show that by the early 1700s, William Pescod, the Recorder of Winchester, had built a substantial town house on the site surrounded by formal gardens. The property changed hands several times and following the death of its owner was put on the market.
In 1889, the City Council resolved to buy Abbey House and the gardens "for public purposes". Since that time, the grounds have been open to the public and the house made available to the incumbent Mayor.
During 1982/83 extensive refurbishment was carried out in the eighteenth century style restoring the house to its original splendour. The furnishings and pictures have been selected from the City's collections.
The residence is the venue for many civic, community and social functions throughout the year. Numerous visitors, many from abroad, are received and appreciate the essentially domestic character of this special house set in the heart of the City.
Abbey House, The Broadway, Winchester, Hampshire. SO23 9BE