Abbey friends visit Newstead

MONKS chairman Maisie Hammond presents Byron's iconic skull cup.
MONKS chairman Maisie Hammond presents Byron's iconic skull cup.

A group which has played a key role to promote Newstead Abbey held a special get-together at Lord Byron’s ancestral home.

MONKS (Members Of Newstead Kindred Spirits) raised money for the famous venue for 25 years before disbanding in 2014.

Members of MONKS are shown the gifts they have bestowed on Newstead Abbey.

Members of MONKS are shown the gifts they have bestowed on Newstead Abbey.

Fifteen members of MONKS visited the abbey last Friday and were given a tour by curator Haidee Jackson to show how they have enhanced the building as a tourist attraction.

Haidee praised the members for their ‘passion, know-how, talents and wonderful support of the abbey’. She said it was thanks to MONKS that two historic drawings which were damaged had been restored and are now on display.

Maisie Hammond, who served as chair of MONKS, said the group had originated because of a wish by about a dozen volunteers to help boost the abbey in any way. Membership had varied from six to 24 over the years and it had experienced ‘some fantastic times’.

Sue Lamb, who was the group’s treasurer for 16 years, presented a cheque for £1,650 to Haidee to finance further improvements.

MONKS were among the first groups to introduce ‘ghost tours’, which have become a popular means of generating money for historic houses. They funded or helped to finance the purchase and conservation of historic views of Newstead Abbey. They have also acquired or commissioned items, including a replica of the infamous skull cup from which Byron drank wine.