Furness Abbey

Manor Road, Barrow-In-Furness, LA13 0PJ
Furness Abbey

Furness Abbey

The Lake District and Cumbria have been occupied since Neolithic times and as it largely escaped many of the German bombing campaigns in World War II it is not surprising to find so many fine examples of ancient castles, churches, and other buildings in the area.

Furness Abbey, north of Barrow-In-Furness is one such example. Whist it can be considered a ruin, its structure has stood for nearly 900 years and a visit allows you to walk in the footsteps of those from centuries long ago.

Planning Your Visit

Contact Details:
01229 823 420 / Website
Cost:
Adults £5.70, Children 5-17 £3.40
Seasonal Opening:
All Year (Nov-Mar: Weekends Only)
 

History

Founded in 1123 the Abbey was originally intended for the Order of Savigny who originated from Northern France. This order merged with the Cistercian Order in 1147, and thus control of Furness Abbey handed over to this powerful group of monks. The Cistercians owned a great deal of land in the area, including Dalton Castle and Piel Castle, and the Abbey was once considered the second wealthiest in the country.

The Abbey was expanded greatly in the medieval period and boasted of impressive architecture. Following King Henry VIII’s conversion to Protestantism, the Abbey was destroyed as part of the King’s campaign to dissolve the Catholic monasteries, though much of the outer shell remains to this day.

Since 2010, English Heritage have been undertaking an extensive restoration programme as the wooden foundations of the Abbey are finally starting to give way after 900 years and cracks in the walls are appearing.

Things To See

In 2012, as part of the restoration works, a grave was discovered with a trove of medieval treasures and some of these are on display in the exhibition centre at the site, where you can also read more about the history of the Abbey, the Cistercians, and the surrounding area.

The ruins themselves are some of the largest of their kind, a demonstration of the wealth of the Cistercian order, and as you walk about you will be able to see some of the intricate stonework that still survives to this day.

Useful Information

English Heritage have a small gift shop at the site where you can purchase souvenirs. There are public toilets here but no café, however, visitors are welcome to bring a picnic with picnic benches provided.

Wheelchair access onto the site is possible, though the ground is uneven in places. Dogs are welcome on the site and a water bowl is provided at the visitor centre.

Map

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