From Nunnery to a Soldier's Mansion
Commonly called Sopwell Nunnery, the ruins here are actually those of Lee Hall.
Sopwell Nunnery was founded on this site in 1140 but the atmospheric ruins that are visible today are the remains of a mansion belonging to an adviser of Henry VIII.
In 1540, after the Dissolution of the Monasteries, Henry VIII granted the land to Sir Richard Lee, a soldier, engineer and member of the king's court. Sir Richard Lee demolished the nunnery and built a house on its foundations. The romantic ruins you see today are all that remain of Sir Richard Lee's Tudor mansion.
You can see Sir Richard Lee's funerary helmet and chain-mail permanently on display inside the new St Albans Museum + Gallery.
On a summer's day, Sopwell Nunnery is an ideal spot for a picnic and the site features on two wonderful local Ver Valley walks. Discover Sopwell Nunnery and many other local sights on walk 6 and walk 7.