Notts: Exhibition will provide a fascinating slice of the past at Rufford Abbey

Rufford Abbey. Picture: Tracey Whitefoot
Rufford Abbey. Picture: Tracey Whitefoot

A new exhibition will provide a snap-shot of Rufford Abbey’s remarkable history when it opens later this month.

Nottinghamshire County Council is organising the exhibition at The Orangery at Rufford Abbey Country Park.

Fragments in Time will feature old photographs, salvaged fragments and objects donated back to the country park in recent years.

While little now remains of what was once a huge country mansion, owned by Lord Savile, the exhibition will provide an intriguing peek into a vanished world.

Rufford Abbey has witnessed so many different periods of English history from medieval and Elizabethan times, to today’s country park which attracts more than 300,000 visitors each year.

Fragments in Time will enable people to take a glimpse into its past and the fascinating stories behind these objects.

Exhibits include two boxes given to the park by a local donor made of wood from repairs to Rufford Chapel organ by a young carpenter.

The carpenter was engaged to a member of Rufford’s domestic but enlisted during WWI and was killed at the Battle of the Somme.

Other highlights include fragments of the long vanished Northern Gates of Rufford Abbey which were removed several decades ago.

There are also items from Rufford School which is now outside the Abbey Park but once part of the estate.

It was a tiny village school which closed in the 1950s.

These items include the school register and textbooks, along with old news clippings about its closure.

There is a large oak panel donated from a keen collector from the county who bought it when the Abbey was demolished in the late 1950s.

Piles of wood and other materials had been stripped from the decaying abbey and stacked up awaiting disposal.

The gentleman bought the panels to save them from destruction and later donated them back to the park.

Their decorative carving gives a favour of the ornate interiors that once filled the Abbey.

there is a ‘mystery object’ – a metal contraption discovered in a cupboard at Rufford which has now been identified as a ‘trace cutter’ for leather harnesses.

Pieces of medieval pottery, dug up by volunteers as part of community archaeology digs last summer (organised by members of the county council’s community archaeology team,) will also be on display at the exhibition.

Fragments in Time opens at The Apsidal Gallery, at The Orangery, Rufford Abbey Country Park from January 18.

It is a free exhibition and Rufford’s £3 parking charge applies at weekends only during January.

For more information on the exhibition and other events please visit the council’s website at