I’ve never done anything but dream. This, and this alone, has been the meaning of my life. My only real concern has been my inner life. FERNANDO PESSOA

Monday, 23 July 2012

Shap Abbey


In a remote and little frequented part of Cumbria, on the eastern edge of the Lake District, you can cross this bridge over the river Lowther . . . 

. . . and follow a mossed drystone wall to Shap Abbey.

The west tower is fifteenth century, though the rest of the abbey dates from 1199 . . .  


. . . not that much remains of the earlier bits.

An order of monks lived here called the Premonstratensians or White Canons. Think of them as a halfway house between the austere and rigidly disciplined, stay-at-home Cistercians, and the more laissez-faire, sociable, itinerant Augustinians.  

The site is cared for by English Heritage, and I'm glad to see they've left nature to take its course and not made the mistake of tidying things up too much.

Dazzling displays of biting stonecrop adorned some of the ruined walls . . . 

. . . and on the way back we passed these magnificent sycamores bunched shoulder to shoulder over the river Lowther.

(Click here for the daily Turnstone quote.)

12 comments:

Gerry Snape said...

such a good post...thankyou!

George said...

Beautiful photos of such a lovely place. I spent a little time visiting the abbey a couple of years ago on the Coast-to-Coast walk.

KleinsteMotte said...

It's hard to imagine what they were thinking when they built this.
What great historical places you visit.

Dominic Rivron said...

I think we're taking George on a walk down memory lane between - what with this and Ennerdale.

We'll have to drop in and have a look when we're going that way. There are a lot of similar ruins over this way: Jervaulx Abbey is just down the road from here, as is Easby. It's easy to forget what is on one's own doorstep.

Ruth said...

Beautiful prospects. Old stone structures and flowers, walls and green growth present a perfect situation for wandering and contemplating.

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks for all your comments. It's so peaceful and unspoilt there — not a motor vehicle to be heard, only the sheep and the geese and the rushing stream.

Ruth said...

I'm appreciative of your new blog template, Robert, which really displays your gorgeous photos to advantage.

Amanda said...

how lucky you are to have such ancient and elegant structures to wander through, amidst such sacred landscapes.

premonstratensians. that is a mouthful - must look these folks up.

The Solitary Walker said...

I stretched the width so that the template could accommodate larger photos, Ruth — belatedly following a helpful suggestion you made some time ago!

Before last week I'd not heard of this monastic order either, Amanda.

Laura said...

I have added Shap Abbey to my list of places that must be experienced. Lovely.

Sandy's witterings said...

I visited Shap Abbey a couple of years ago too - it's managed to get itself tucked into that little gap which is out of the way and peaceful but still fairly easy to get to. If you've found your way onto the A6 rather than the M6 then you've got rushing about out of your mind and the abbey is perfect.

Down our way we've got Dundrennan abbey and as with Shap, the scale of abbey churches is spectacular when you consider what passes as a large church now a days.

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks for your visit, Laura...

... and Sandy, I haven't been to Dundrennan. In fact I hardly know the Border region, and Dumfries & Galloway, at all. Must get up there some time. (BTW, just had a look at your folk singing/guitar playing video — great stuff!)