Waverley Abbey was the first Cistercian abbey in England, founded in 1128 by William Giffard, bishop of Winchester. It is situated about four miles south of Farnham, in a bend of the River Wey.
During the first century of its existence, it founded six monasteries, and despite the members thus sent away, had 70 monks and 120 lay brothers in 1187, and kept about thirty ploughs.
The site was subject to regular flooding, however, and in 1203 the foundations for a new church and monastery were laid on higher ground. The new church was dedicated in 1231.
King John visited Waverley in 1208, and Henry III in 1225.
By the end of the thirteenth century the abbey was becoming less important. By the time it was suppressed by Henry VIII in 1536 as part of the Dissolution of the Monasteries there were only thirteen monks in the community and the abbey had an annual net income of £174.
There is now nothing more remaining of Waverley than a beautiful, haunting ruin, managed by English Heritage.