Shap Abbey
Penrith, Central Lakes

Details for Shap Abbey

Shap Abbey in Penrith is remote and atmospheric. Standing silently by the river the ruins of this once grand Abbey dominate the landscape. Visitors can wander around and imagine what life was once like for the religious order, then maybe meander over to nearby Keld Chapel.

Shap Abbey stands in a picturesque setting by the River Lowther, with nothing nearby to interrupt the beauty of this tranquil and remote site.

It was built in 1199, the last Abbey to be founded in England, and the last to be dissolved by Henry VIII in 1540. It was founded by the Premonstratensian order, also known as the White Canons from the colour of their habits. Most of the buildings are 13th Century in origin, though the striking west tower is early 16th Century.

The land was granted to the Governor of Carlisle in 1540 following King Henry VIII's suppression of the abbey and the eviction of its canons. Some of the main monastic buildings were re-used as a farm, but most were gradually dismantled and the materials re-used.

The church, chapter house, dormitories, and cloisters are all much ruined. Stone was taken at the end of the 17th Century to build Shap Market Hall. Much of the carved stonework was also removed and used in the building of Lowther Castle.

A short path leads over fields to the small 16th Century Keld Chapel, now in the care of the National Trust.

 
Shap Abbey
Shap
Penrith
Cumbria
CA10 3QG
 

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