Sawley Abbey - Derelict Manchester:

Derelict Manchester:

A view of the hidden parts around the inner sections around the city centre of Manchester, UK and beyond . How you perceive these derelict sites could be morbid, yet exciting.

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Sawley Abbey


Foundation and Early History:

Sawley Abbey was founded in 1146 by the Cistercian monks from Newminster Abbey in Northumberland. The Cistercian order, also known as the White Monks, was known for its strict adherence to a simple and austere way of life.The main benefactor was William, third Lord Percy. The Percys, Northumberland’s greatest family, who remained patrons.

The abbey was established close to the banks of the River Ribble, in an area that was conducive to agriculture and provided the monks with the resources. In the 1280s, when it seemed like the monks would leave the site, these wealthy donors were of great assistance: they asserted that unfortunate harvests, mucky ground and the unwelcoming environment made life at Sawley indefensible. Accordingly, Maud de Percy, Noblewoman of Warwick, gave important terrains and places of worship at Rimington (close to Barnoldswick), Ilkley, Gargrave and Tadcaster. With this new blessing, the monks stayed.However, their issues did not go away.

Facing South close to the refectory

Facing North

Nine miles from Sawley in Cheshire, Stanlaw Abbey returned to existence in 1296, and the two Cistercian houses started fighting right once. Their lands were adjacent, and they quarrelled over access to grain and fishing privileges on the Ribble River.

The fighting was officially resolved in 1305, but the senior foundation's monks at Sawley persisted in feeling wronged. Due to litigation, the "cruel and inhuman spoliation" that accompanied Scottish raids around 1320, and the cost of giving board and lodging to travellers, Sawley was far poorer than Whalley. This was because, unlike many Cistercian homes, Sawley was located on a major main route.


Dissolution and Decline:

The dissolution of the monasteries in England, which began in the 1530s under King Henry VIII, marked a period of decline for Sawley Abbey. In 1537, the abbey was dissolved, and its assets were confiscated by the crown.
The buildings and lands of the abbey were sold off to private individuals, and the abbey itself fell into a state of disrepair.

Later History:

After the dissolution, the abbey's ruins were left to deteriorate, and some of the stone was used for construction in the local area.
In the 19th century, efforts were made to preserve the site, and today, the picturesque ruins of Sawley Abbey are a popular tourist attraction, managed by English Heritage.

Architecture and Features:

The abbey's relatively small nave, which is still distinctly apparent today, was likely a result of its great poverty. Since the cloister on the south side of the church was constructed to a standard size, it is clear that the nave was supposed to be full length; however, the nave was likely never completed due to a lack of funding. As a result of the addition of new aisles to the north and south in the early 16th century, when there was more money available and ambitious renovation was in style, the chancel at the east end of the church is unusually broad. The outcome was a church that was unique to every other Cistercian abbey.
The south transept's well-preserved night stair, used by the monks, is another magnificent structure that is still visible today.

Layout of the Abbey: English Heritage..

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