‘Royal’ artefact discovered in Milton Keynes

Monday 16 September 2019

Stone Carving
Stone carving at Bradwell Abbey
 © Cliveden Conservation 


MK Council (MKC) today unveiled findings of a stone carving of a royal family member at Bradwell Abbey, dating back to the 12th century.

Historic items were discovered during conservation work at Bradwell Abbey, including a head carving believed to be Eleanor of Aquitaine – contemporary to the 12th century construction of the Abbey along with medieval paintwork.

During an unveiling at Bradwell Abbey today, it was announced that the restoration project is to benefit from an additional £593,000 in further funding from MKC. Initially, the Council dedicated £800,000 towards the project, but recognition of a high quality solution, and the historic importance of the site has changed that – bringing MKC’s total investment to almost £1.4 million.

Historic England has also provided £257,000 in support for the 14th Century Pilgrim Chapel repairs. 

Cabinet Member responsible for Cultural Heritage Councillor Jenny Marklew and Mayor of MK, Sam Crooks unveiled the findings, which include:

  • Head carving of Eleanor of Aquitaine
  • Medieval paint work
  • Uncovering of a 12th century stone from the original priory wall which remains in immaculate condition

The site has suffered from ageing since the 16th century, with only the chapel remaining in its entirety from the priority site. Milton Keynes Council is now working with Milton Keynes City Discovery Centre and other partners to deliver the restoration of Bradwell Abbey.

Stone Carving
Stone carving at Bradwell Abbey
 © Cliveden Conservation 

Councillor Marklew said: “I’m delighted to be able to share these finds today and announce that the Council is investing an additional £593,000 in this project.  It’s important that we bring Bradwell Abbey back into use as one of the most important historic jewels of Milton Keynes.

“I’d like to thank council colleagues and partners for their efforts in delivering this project.”


Following the completion of the project in 2020, the portable finds will be deposited into the Council’s Museum Collection held at nearby MK Museum. MKC and MKCDC are working with conservation experts to ensure that the finds in situ can be on open display as part of a new Visitor Interpretation Centre at Bradwell Abbey.