Furness Abbey: Barrow-in-Furness 01229-823420
Furness Abbey is the beautiful hidden
gem of Furness, I say hidden because if the ruins were in a more accessible
tourist area the place would be inundated with visitors.
The Abbey lies between Barrow-in-Furness
and Dalton in the southern part of the Furness peninsula. The location was
well chosen by the monks as it was well sheltered and had plenty of resources
close to hand such as water, timber and stone for building. For over 400 years
the abbey enjoyed wealth and prosperity, indeed the abbey was the second richest
in the land after Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire (another fine place to visit).
The abbey started as a lower order of
Savigniac monks who were to settle at Tulketh near Preston in 1124. After
three years the monks relocated and Furness Abbey was founded in 1147. The
congregation of Savigny were incorporated into the more powerful Cistercian
Order and became a Cistercian monastery.
Around 1536 Henry V111 wanted to bring
the churches under state control and the abbey was eventually given up to
the King, the deed of surrender was signed on the 9th April 1537.
Today the ruins are a great place to
spend time strolling around on a nice day. The entrance to the abbey is through
the excellent visitors centre that houses various ancient artefacts from the
Abbey. It is worth noting if you live local, by going to the town hall with
your poll tax bill and a utility bill you can get a free pass that you can
use as many times as you want, so if you fancy a free stroll around the Abbey
on a Sunday afternoon its there for you.
Close to Furness Abbey is the amphitheatre, a great place to go and stretch the legs and let the kids have a run about. Not used for many social events lately but many people will remember from way back when it was used for an annual show with the finale of the black knights parachute team landing in the middle. It was not unknown for the odd one to end up in a tree. Situated at the amphitheatre is the recently refurbished cafe and a nice place to sit and have a cup of tea while you get your breath back having climbed up the hill and back. Located outside the cafe are sandstone statues that compliment the great setting of the abbey.
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