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Historic England Research Records

Sawley Abbey

Hob Uid: 44565
Location :
Lancashire
Ribble Valley
Sawley
Grid Ref : SD7779046410
Summary : The site of a Cistercian abbey founded in 1147 by Wiliam de Percy and dedicated to St Mary and St Andrew. The abbey was supressed in 1536, but the monks were restored under a new abbot William Trafford. This so incensed King Henry VIII, that he sent his commander to deal with the monks. Trafford was executed for treason and the abbey was once again supressed. The abbey is constructed from dressed sandstone and black shale. The remains demonstrate the usual layout with a church running east-west, forming the north range of the cloister. Domestic buildings formed the southern range, lay-brothers' quarters formed the west range, the monks' quarters and chapter house the east range. The earliest standing remains are parts of the mid 12th century church. In the 14th century a chapel was added along its north side. The nave was shortened in the 15th/early 16th century, and the chancel was lengthened and widened. The cloister's lower courses of stonework survive. On the ground floor was a sacristy, chapter house and undercroft. The dorter formed the upper floor. The southern range contained the warming house, dining hall and kitchen. The west range contained the lay-brothers quarters and dining hall, but was latterly partly converted into the abbot's lodgings. Around the abbey except the west are earthworks indicating enclosures, stock pens, gardens, watercourses and the service buildings including the infirmary, bake house, brew house and abbey mill. Excavation and architectural analysis have recovered a substantial series of timber temporary buildings (the most extensive known on any Cistercian site). Considerable evidence was also recovered of a complex piped water supply installed at the foundation and maintained throughout the life of the abbey. The slow development of the cloister ranges between circa 1170 and 1220 demonstrates the process by which a small Cistercian monastery developed. The site is in the care of English Heritage.
More information : [SD 7754 4640] Remains of Sawley Abbey [G.T.] (Cistercian founded AD 1147-48). (1)

Sawley Abbey, Cistercian, was founded 1147-8, and suppressed in 1536. The buildings conformed to the usual plan of the Order. The site was clear and excavated in 1848. (2-4)

Sawley abbey and it's gateway are both scheduled. (5)

GP, AO/61/240/1 shows the east aspect of the remains of Sawley Abbey looking across the Presbytery. GP AO/61/240/2 shows the SE aspect andGP AO/61/240/3 the southern aspect of the remains of the transept.
GP AO/61/240/7 shows the S. aspect of the abbey 'gateway' situated at SD 7763 4651. (6)

Sawley Abbey Arches have now been demolished and the stone used to build one arch at the entrance to a field east of the published position, the property of Mr. J. Braithwaite, Spread Eagle Farm.
(7)

The condition of the Abbey is unchanged. The gateway (formerly at SD 7763 4651), demolished in 1962, has been re-erected at SD 7764 4651. (8)

Sawley Abbey Ruins. Grade I. Cistercian Abbey, founded 1147, dissolved 1536. Now ruinous. Rubble with some sandstone dressings remaining. The walls of the transepts, with 3 square E chapels on each side, and of the very small nave (possibly shortened in the early C16th), survive to various heights, the maximum approx 10m. Only the lower courses of the chancel, widened and lengthened in the early C16th by adding aisles, remain. Only foundation or low
walls of the conventual buildings survive. These include the chapter house, undercroft of the dorter, the rere-dorter, and, on the S side, the frater. On the W side of the cloister were the
dorter and frater of the lay brethren, later converted in part into Abbot's lodgings. At the N end of the W range is a fireplace with segmental arch and bread oven, possibly post-Reformation. (9)

SD 776 464. Salley (or Sawley) Abbey. Scheduled No LA/173. (10)

(11) Scheduled Monument Notification

(12-13) Additional sources

Between July and September 2004, English Heritage's Archaeological Survey and Investigation Team carried out an investigation and Level 3 analytical field survey at 1:1 000 scale of the site of Sawley Abbey, Lancashire. Sawley Abbey is a guardianship site. The project was undertaken at the request of English Heritage's Inspector of Ancient Monuments for the North-West Region to aid long-term management of the Scheduled area and to advance understanding of the site and its surrounding landscape; the fieldwork was also used to train an EPPIC placement. In addition to the analytical field survey, the project also comprised documentary research. The earthwork survey was carried out using a combination of survey-grade GPS and traditional taped survey techniques. A full report, part of the Archaeological Investigation Report Series, is available from the NMR, reference AI/17/2005. (14)

Excavation and architectural analysis recovered a substantial series of timber temporary buildings (the most extensive known on any Cistercian site). Considerable evidence was also recovered of a complex piped water supply first installed at the foundation and maintained throughout the life of the Abbey. The slow development of the cloister ranges between c. 1170 and c. 1220 demonstrated for the first time the process by which a small Cistercian monastery was developed. Also notes that the cultural collections from the site were exceptional. (15)

A brief history and description. (16)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1955
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Source Number : 2
Source : Medieval religious houses : England and Wales
Source details :
Page(s) : 114
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Source Number : 11
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : 13-Aug-96
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 12
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Harland J. 1853. Historical Account of the Cistercian Abbey of Sawley
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 13
Source : Medieval religious houses in England and Wales
Source details :
Page(s) : 125
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Source Number : 14
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : ENGLISH HERITAGE: SAWLEY ABBEY SURVEY
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 15
Source : Journal of the British Archaeological Association
Source details : 'Sawley Abbey: the architecture and archaeology of a smaller Cistercian abbey ', article by Glyn Coppack, Colin Hayfield, Rich Williams
Page(s) : 22-114
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 155, 2003
Source Number : 16
Source : Heritage Unlocked: Guide to free sites in the North West
Source details :
Page(s) : 54-55
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Morris JE. 1911. The West Riding of Yorkshire, 438-444
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Source Number : 4
Source : The Yorkshire archaeological journal
Source details :
Page(s) : 454-60
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Plates :
Vol(s) : 20, 1909
Source Number : 5
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Ministry of Works. 1958. List of Ancient Monuments in England and Wales, 93
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Source Number : 6
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : Lewis R 13/09/1961 RCHME Field Investigation
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Source Number : 7
Source : Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments
Source details : Letter (EC Waight 19/02/1962)
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Source Number : 8
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : Lewis R 19/12/1963 RCHME Field Investigation
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 9
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : Ribble Valley, 27-APR-1984
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Source Number : 10
Source : County list of Scheduled Monuments : March 1994
Source details : Lancashire
Page(s) : 13
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Extant
Monument End Date : 1537
Monument Start Date : 1147
Monument Type : Cistercian Monastery, Abbey
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Mid C12 (From 1147)
Monument End Date : 1166
Monument Start Date : 1147
Monument Type : Abbey, Church
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : 1147 to 1537
Monument End Date : 1537
Monument Start Date : 1147
Monument Type : Cloister, Sacristy, Chapter House, Undercroft, Warming House, Refectory, Kitchen, Lay Brothers Range, Monastic Dwelling, Enclosure, Stock Enclosure, Garden, Water Channel, Infirmary, Bakehouse, Dormitory, Brewhouse, Watermill
Evidence : Ruined Building, Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : C14 addition
Monument End Date : 1400
Monument Start Date : 1301
Monument Type : Church, Abbey
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : C15/early C16 alterations
Monument End Date : 1532
Monument Start Date : 1401
Monument Type : Abbey, Church
Evidence : Ruined Building

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : NY 13
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : LA 173
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 23690
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 183470
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : EH Property Number
External Cross Reference Number : 163
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SD 74 NE 3
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 1346874
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : SAWLEY ABBEY
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1848-01-01
End Date : 1849-12-31
Associated Activities : SAWLEY ABBEY
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1982-01-01
End Date : 1982-12-31
Associated Activities : SAWLEY ABBEY
Activity type : GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY
Start Date : 1983-01-01
End Date : 1983-12-31
Associated Activities : ARCHES COTTAGES
Activity type : ARCHITECTURAL SURVEY
Start Date : 1999-01-01
End Date : 1999-12-31
Associated Activities : THE SPREAD EAGLE HOTEL, SAWLEY
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2000-01-01
End Date : 2000-12-31
Associated Activities : ENGLISH HERITAGE: SAWLEY ABBEY ARCHAEOLOGICAL FIELD SURVEY
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 2004-07-01
End Date : 2004-08-31
Associated Activities : LAND AT SAWLEY ABBEY
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2005-01-01
End Date : 2005-12-31