Dairy and Icehouse
The dairy and icehouse were part of the abbey's later life as a country estate. They were probably constructed by Sir Godfrey Webster around 1818 for his new wife.
The octagonal dairy (left), in the fashionable Gothick style, was designed to be ornamental as well as functional. Here, milk from the estate could be made into butter and cream. The thatched roof and double-skinned walls kept the interior cool, and gauze screens protected it from flying insects. Below the dairy stand the remains of a scullery containing part of a boiler and sink for cleaning dairy utensils.
It was restored in 1991; the design of the windows and their coloured glass are based on fragments of the original leadwork and glass.
The icehouse (right) is entered by a low door between the posts that support its conical roof. Originally thatched, it is now covered with turf. The brick vault beneath covers a deep, brick-lined, conical pit. It was used for storing winter ice from nearby ponds or lakes to provide an all year round supply for food preservation and cooling drinks. The ice was insulated between layers of straw and twigs, a process called 'iceting', and had a north facing entrance passage with sets of doors to provide additional insulation.
( photo caption )
entrance (top left), seen in elevation, and (right) a section through the ice house.