WHALLEY ABBEY, LANCASHIRE

Grid Ref: SD 728 361
Dates: 12 April 2005 & 24 July 2012

Whalley Abbey, is a 14th Century Cistercian Abbey. On the banks of the River Calder which runs into the River Ribble.

In 1296 the Cistercian monks from Stanlow Abbey moved to Whalley. It had been founded on the banks of the River Mersey in the 1170s by John fitz Richard, but suffered a series of misfortunes, including flooding in 1279, the destruction of the church tower in a gale in 1287 and a fire in 1289. In 1283 Henry de Lacy, tenth Baron of Halton agreed to the move from Stanlow to Whalley but this was not achieved until 1296. This was a controversial move as the Abbey of Sawley was only a few miles away. The first stone was in 1296 and at least part of the site was consecrated by the Bishop of Whithern in 1306. Building proceeded slowly and the foundation stone was laid in 1330. The church was completed in 1380 but the remainder of the abbey was not finished until the 1440s. In 1480, the North East Gatehouse, which provided a new entrance to the abbey, was completed. In the 16th century, John Paslew, the last Abbot of Whalley, reconstructed his own lodgings and added a Lady Chapel. The abbey closed in 1537 as part of the dissolution of the monasteries. Also that yearm Abbot Paslew was executed for high treason for his part in events connected with the Pilgrimage of Grace, a rebellion in the North of England against the Dissolution.

In 1553 the abbey lands and the manor of Whalley were sold for just over £2,151 to John Braddyll of Brockhall and Richard Assheton of Lever near Bolton. The properties were divided and Assheton took the monastic site and buildings. The abbot's house and the infirmary buildings were demolished and a large house was built on the site. In the 17th century most of the remaining church and monastic buildings were pulled down. The Assheton family remain prominent in the area with Ralph Assheton, Lord Clitheroe, having his seat at nearby Downham Hall. The Braddylls' Whalley estate was sold by Wilson Gale Braddyll to James Whalley of Clerk Hill in the late 18th century.

Gate from inside   Abbey church
Abbey Gate, the visitor entrance, 2012   View of altar, choir and nave looking West
View East   West Range
View from the nave eastwards towards the gatehouse   West Range, the Lay Brothers' dormitory
Parlour   Range
Inside the Parlour with Vestry & door to South Transept   Monks' Day room, passage, parlour, Chapter House
Parlour and Vestry   Monk's Day Room
Inside Parlour, Chapter House and Vestry   South end of Monk's Day Room and Dormitory above
Kitchen   a
Kitchen opposite the hearths   Inside the Abbot's kitchen
Tudor Courtyard   Outer Court
Tudor Courtyard behind Conference House, 2012   Courtyard with buildings for office, cafe and shop, 2012

 

Sources

Wikipedia
British History On Line

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