Holme Cultram Abbey
Wigton, West Lakes & Coast

Details for Holme Cultram Abbey

Holme Cultram Abbey in West Cumbria is a magnificent red sandstone Abbey in the village of Abbeytown. The turbulent history and legend surrounding this stunning piece of architecture is well documented for visitors to see. The atmospheric beauty of the place makes it well worth a visit. 

Built in the 12th Century, Holme Cultram Abbey is a place of great beauty, peace and serenity. In 1150 Holme Cultram Abbey was founded by Prince Henry of Scotland who gave the land to monks from Melrose Abbey to settle.

These Cistercian monks organized the clearing of forests and draining of large tracts of the Solway marshes, making the land of the Holme district habitable and profitable. By 1200 the Abbey was well under construction. When finished the Abbey and associated buildings covered ten acres of land.

Throughout the thirteenth century benefactors on both sides of the Solway lavished gifts on the Abbey, the main motivation being a hope that they could buy their way into heaven.

The monks were very successful sheep farmers and became the largest suppliers of wool in the Northwest of England with an estimated flock of over 6,000 sheep. The Abbey became immensely wealthy and was raided and plundered by the Scots on many occasions. Robert the Bruce caused the worst devastation in 1319, despite the fact that his father, the Earl of Carrick was buried there.

In 1538 the Act dissolving the Greater Monasteries was passed. Holme Cultram Abbey along with 1,600 acres of land and all its possessions was surrendered to Henry VIII.

The Abbey Church was not destroyed, as many were, because it served as a parish church and as a refuge against the Scots. Over time the Abbey church fell into disrepair due to lack of local authority and...


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