HomeEnglandIrelandNorthern IrelandScotlandWales
New This Month
N. Ireland
National Parks
Tourist Information
Web Links
About Us
Contact Us


Shap Abbey

Shap Abbey by Barbara Ballard Head up the A6 to the tiny village of Shap and the road signposted for the Abbey of St. Mary. Follow the narrowing lane to the crest of a steep hill that leads down into the isolated valley of the River Lowther. It's an experience not to be missed-the sight of the gaunt ruins of the Abbey tower standing stark against the sky.

In this remote and isolated countryside, little remains of the 12th century Abbey, once the home of a dozen Premonstratensian monks-their white robes earned them the name "white canons"-who combined a life of prayer and discipline with parish work as priests.

Shap Abbey ruins by Rose and Trev Clough courtesy Geograph org The Abbey of St Mary was originally established near Kendal, by Thomas, son of Gospatric, then moved to the Shap location. The monastery, built in the chaste Gothic style, was dedicated to God and St. Mary Magdalene. It was generously endowed with pastureland and privileges-all the wood the canons wanted and the free grinding of wheat at the mill. Cattle, oxen, and sheep made up part of the prosperous abbey's possessions.

Shap Abbey grounds by Barbara Ballard The medieval records of the abbey, founded in 1199, have disappeared. However, it is known that one of the abbots, Robert Redman, became bishop of St Asaph, then Exeter, then Ely. The west tower probably dates from the early 1500's, the rest ranging from the 13th-15th centuries. Like other abbeys, its doors closed when Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries. The Abbot and Canons received a pension, and the abbey lands were sold. Parts of the building were converted into the farm at the site, and other stone was used to build Shap Market Hall and Lowther Castle.

Visitor Information

Shap is located on the A6 9 miles (14km) south of Penrith
on a minor road; follow signs from Shap
English Heritage
Open site

Photos: Abbey archway and grounds by Barbara Ballard; abbey ruins by Rose and Trev Clough courtesy

Go Back:[Top of Page] [Articles Main Page] [Cumbria Abbeys, Churches, and Cathedrals]

Be a Destinations-UK-Ireland Sponsor
Some of our Cumbria Articles
Cumbria Abbeys, Churches, and Cathedrals
Cartmel Village and its Priory Church
Rambling Round Cumbrian Ruins
Still Bobbin Along
William Wordsworth
Tale of Beatrix Potter and Peter Rabbit
The Rum Story
Birdoswald Roman Fort
Barnacle Geese
Brougham Castle
Hardknott Roman Fort
Senhouse Roman Museum
Piel Island
Appleby Castle
Workington Hall, Cumbria
Other England Articles

Destinations-UK-Ireland. Reproduction of this work in whole or in part, including images, and reproduction in electronic media, without documented permission is prohibited.
Site maintained by andyfellwalker
England | Ireland | N. Ireland | Scotland | Wales | About Us | Contact Us
United Kingdom England Ireland Scotland Wales