WHALLEY ABBEY ~ HISTORY & INFORMATION
The Abbey of St Mary the Virgin, also known as Locus Benedictus de Whalley, was founded by
Henry de Lacy, Third Earl of Lincoln on the 4th April 1296. The last Abbot, John Paslew was
involved in the Pilgrimage of Grace. He was tried at Lancaster and executed in Whalley on
the 10th March 1537. The Abbey was then suppressed and the monks turned out. Richard
Assheton acquired the monastic buildings and converted the infirmary and the abbot’s house
into a country mansion.
Of the abbey there are considerable remains, including two stately gateways, a building
thought to have been the abbot's private oratory, and other parts less perfect, yet all of
them good specimens of Decorated and Perpendicular English architecture. In the parish
church of Whalley are three plain stalls, and some good wood screen work, supposed to have
been brought from the abbey. The seats, which have elaborate wood carvings, are known as
misericords, three of them have carved inscriptions, one in Latin, one in Norman French, and
one in early English. Windows from the Abbey are also thought to have been taken to
Samlesbury Hall in Lancashire.
Whalley Abbey Gatehouse is a 15th century stone inner gatehouse of the Cistercian abbey,
originally with a first floor chapel. Whalley Abbey is now a retreat and conference centre
where visitors may visit the ruins, gardens and coffee shop. The ruins of the Abbey are
protected as an important Ancient Monument.
Whalley Abbey, The Sands, off Kings Street, Whalley, Lancashire
Telephone: 01254 828400.
Open during daylight hours
Cost: £2 Adult
There is a free car park
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