Chorley Historical and Archaeological Society

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May 2019



Tue 14th May 2019
Nigel Neil – Archaeology at Whalley Abbey.

It was a welcome return to the society for Nigel who has nearly 30 years’ archaeology experience, not just at Whalley Abbey, but on sites ranging from Orkney to Stonehenge.

Whalley Abbey was a Cistercian monastery from 1296 to the Dissolution in 1536, with the abbey church being demolished in 1660. From the Dissolution It was in private hands until 1922. Since then the site and remaining buildings have had main 2 owners. Part of it owned by the Church of England, Diocese of Blackburn and the other by the Roman Catholic Church, Diocese of Salford.

Nigel provided a detailed picture of the present state of the site and the ongoing challenges regarding its repair programme in trying to save and restore what is left. Thanks to Nigel’s and others’ efforts the history of the abbey continues to be pieced together.

Nigel Neil
Artefacts from the abbey are to be found in many other places including, for example, the Victoria & Albert Museum, Stonyhurst and Townley Hall.

With the help of dendrochronology much work has been done in dating the remaining timbers, giving a better understanding of construction dates.

Much reference was made to images of similar, existing buildings and to drawings to give a better picture of how the abbey may have looked in its medieval splendour.

Nigel’s main message of the evening was Whalley Abbey needs people to visit and support it enabling the important work, in trying to learn about and understand its past, to continue.

Whalley Abbey

Peter Robinson