In 1128 French monks built Waverley Abbey, the first Cistercian monastery on English soil. For the next four hundred years the Abbey was home to 2,000 monks until its dissolution by Henry VIII. In 1723 the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sir John Aislabie, used materials from the old abbey to build a country house nearby.
This is the present-day Waverley Abbey House.
In the 19th century the house passed into the hands of George Nicholson, brother-in-law of Florence Nightingale, a frequent visitor to Waverley – as was Sir Walter Scott, whose ‘Waverley Novels’ took their name from the Abbey. During the First World War the house was used as a Military Hospital, caring for 5,000 officers over this period. In later years it became a residential nursing home.
In 1983 CWR, a Christian charitable organisation focused on publishing and training, bought and carefully restored the house. Today the East Wing of Waverley is used for CWR’s publishing activities, and many of its own courses are run in the main house.