Within a fortnight of the Deed of Surrender being signed, the nuns were given pensions, graded according to rank and age, and sent home. Demolition of the Abbey buildings began in June 1540 and went on for 18 months. Much of the stone was shipped across the Thames for building the King's new manor house at Dartford. Lead from the roof went to repair the roof of Greenwich Palace.
The destruction accounts give some idea of the magnificence of the Abbey contents. To the King's jewel house went 3,586 ounces of silver plate, mostly gilt, and a beryl-decorated silver gilt monstrance weighing 65 ounces.
Almost all that remained of the old Abbey buildings were the North Gate (demolished about 1885) and the Curfew Tower or Fire Bell Gate, rebuilt about 1460, with its 12th- or early 13th-century stone rood in the upper storey chapel. The Curfew Tower has been refurbished and repaired, and may be visited by appointment.
For almost 400 years the site was used as a quarry and a farm. Early in 1911 an archaeological excavation was carried out jointly by Barking Urban District Council and the Morant Club under Sir Alfred Clapham. Remains of the walls of the Abbey church were left exposed to view.
The Abbey remains are situated a short distance from Barking Town Centre, between Abbey Road and the Broadway. Entrance is through the Curfew Tower (opposite the Broadway Theatre).
St Margaret's Church is not to be confused with the Abbey church. St Margaret's was used as a parish church by the townspeople of Barking, and survived the Dissolution.