Visiting English Heritage sites – Lanercost Priory

The day we went to Lanercost Priory was the Saturday following our visit to Wordsworth House and garden.  The weather was much brighter, which added to our enjoyment and to the opportunities for taking photos.  There were yellow bicycles along those parts of our route, which coincided with the rout of the recent Tour of Britain cycle race.

We ignored the SatNav’s instructions and followed the signposts to a large car park.  We had taken a picnic lunch with us, but there is a café adjacent to the car park.  There are also some interesting-looking footpaths nearby – perhaps next time!

The Priory is partly run by English Heritage, whose staff are helpful and knowledgeable.  The remainder is in good repair and is in use as the parish church. It has an unusual clear glass East window, giving views of the ruins beyond.  We visited the ruins first.

The remaining stonework had similar features to some at Furness Abbey and at St Bees Priory Church, which like Lanercost Priory is the site of a former monastery with a well-loved parish church.  Little remains of the monastic buildings at St Bees.  The stones have been reused elsewhere in the locality.  However the history is fairly well documented.

The stones used to build Lanercost Priory had been quarried (recycled) from Hadrian’s Wall, which is not far away.  We made a detour to it before returning home.

So here are the photos.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.



Visiting English Heritage sites – Furness Abbey

Hubby and I recently joined English Heritage and have been making the most of the fine weather to visit some of the properties.

Well-preseserved vaulting
Well-preserved vaulting

Our first visit was to Furness Abbey, the site of a monastery and large church (Abbey) until the dissolution of the monasteries.  We took a picnic, which we left in the car until lunchtime.  The site is very big – huge was the word a helpful member of staff used to describe it.

Furness Abbey
Furness Abbey







On this occasion we purchased a guide book.  We hadn’t been there before and the map looked very useful to understand the original layout of the (now ruined) buildings and the water-courses.  We really enjoyed the visit and intend to go again.

Another view at Furness Abbey
Another view at Furness Abbey

There are places nearby where refreshments may be bought.  There is also another English Heritage site, Bow Bridge, which used to give access to the abbey.  Without a map and not having asked how to reach it, we set off on foot and explored the area outside the abbey grounds in various directions without discovering it.

We did find a walk in Abbots Wood, the site of a former army site, which is now a peace project and gives views of the abbey below.  Next time we go, we’ll be better prepared.

Mayflies were attracted by the water.  It had been dry weather prior to our visit, but parts of the site were still very muddy.  Stout footwear and warm (or wind-proof) clothing would be useful at most times of the year.  Sometimes hats would protect from the midday sun.  On a visit to another English Heritage site, coming up next in this series, I wore a sun-hat and sat on my lightweight raincoat on the grass to watch history being re-enacted..