During the Elizabethan period, Ramsey Abbey was used as a quarry, providing stone for three Cambridge colleges as well as for church towers and other buildings. It has not yet been established what part of the Abbey became the home of the Cromwells and then the Fellowes. Dorothy Stroud (Sir John Soane Architect, 1996, p.189) suggests that it was the Lady Chapel. Drawing  is assumed to be an outline survey plan of the house as Soane found it. It is irregular with two buttressed towers and some lesser projections. It was a job that he enjoyed, making more than a dozen visits between 1804 and 1806. Earlier, Soane had designed Shottesham Park for Robert Fellowes, a nephew of W.H.Fellowes. Although Soane was not an advocate of the Gothic Revival, his re-organisatiion of Ramsey Abbey was masterly and sympathetic. He extended the house westwards and moved the entrance from the south to the north front which was approached by a porch with a large circular lobby with stair. This north front was given lancet windows and the projecting (one bay) ends were buttressed. The south (back) elevation, apart from the new extension was left much as found, that is, a pictureque cluster of gables and buttresses (see drawing ). The interior was organised with a 'cloister' or arcaded passage that ran from east to west and fronted the ground and first floors.
Later work by Edward Blore (1787-1879) made many changes to Soane's work, including the staircase, south elevation and rooms on the south front. (P.Dean, Sir John Soane and the Country estate, 1999, p.190).
In 1937 Lady Fairhaven presented the house to the town to become a grammar school (now Abbey College).
The Gatehouse, of c.1457-1500 (drawings  -  and  with a replacement arch designed by Soane was given to the National Trust in 1952 in memory of Diana Broughton, the daughter of Lord de Ramsey.
Sir John Soane's collection includes some 30,000 architectural, design and topographical drawings which is a very important resource for scholars worldwide. His was the first architect’s collection to attempt to preserve the best in design for the architectural profession in the future, and it did so by assembling as exemplars surviving drawings by great Renaissance masters and by the leading architects in Britain in the 17th and 18th centuries and his near contemporaries such as Sir William Chambers, Robert Adam and George Dance the Younger. These drawings sit side by side with 9,000 drawings in Soane’s own hand or those of the pupils in his office, covering his early work as a student, his time in Italy and the drawings produced in the course of his architectural practice from 1780 until the 1830s.
Browse (via the vertical menu to the left) and search results for Drawings include a mixture of Concise catalogue records – drawn from an outline list of the collection – and fuller records where drawings have been catalogued in more detail (an ongoing process).
Contents of Ramsey Abbey, Huntingdonshire (now Cambridgeshire): alterations and additions for W.H.Fellowes, 1804-07 ( )
- Initial plans for ground floor, 12-19 May 1804 (6)
- Initial plans for first floor, 19 May 1804 (2)
- Further plans for ground floor, 4-7 June 1804 (3)
- Plans for basement, 4-7 June 1804 (5)
- Further plans for first floor, 4-7 June 1804 (3)
- Survey plan, 5 June 1804
- Designs for north and south fronts, with record/survey drawings May - September 1804 (8)
- Working drawings for trusses, July 1804 (2)
- Plans made 29 November, 15 December 1804 (4)
- Record drawings of lancet window, 15 June 1805 (2)
- Design for additions to lodge house, 22 June 1805
- Survey drawings of gatehouse, 7-8 July 1805 (5)
- Designs for entrance arch and addition to gatehouse, 1805 (2)
- Designs for folding gates and book shelves, May 1806 (2)
- Record drawings, 1806 (4)
- Sketches of house and gatehouse, June 1806 (3)
- Later record plans and elevation, October and November 1807 (5)