Woburn Abbey, in Woburn, Bedfordshire, though technically it is not an abbey, rather a grand country estate which since the mid-16thCentury has served as the principal seat of major London landowners, the dukes of Bedford. The site originated as a monastery for Cistercian monks in 1145. It was closed under the orders of King Henry VIII during the cull of the monasteries, and granted to the Earl of Bedford who had it demolished and built a grand mansion, which he continued to call an abbey, in its place. The estate has been in the hands of the dukes’ ever since. Woburn was first recorded as a hamlet in AD969 and not only gives its name to the abbey but the city of Woburn, Massachusetts. The name means twisted or crooked stream and comes from the Old English elements woh, meaning twisted, and burna, meaning stream. This is one of a small cluster of Croydon streets associated with the Bedfords: Tavistock Road and Grove are named after their Devonshire estate, also acquired at the time of the dissolution, and Bedford Park. The family name lives on in over 70 streets across Greater London.
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