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SAWLEY ABBEY

ALTERNATIVE NAME:  SALLEY ABBEY
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The site of a Cistercian abbey founded in 1147 by Wiliam de Percy and dedicated to St Mary and St Andrew. The abbey was supressed in 1536, but the monks were restored under a new abbot William Trafford. This so incensed King Henry VIII, that he sent his commander to deal with the monks. Trafford was executed for treason and the abbey was once again supressed. The abbey is constructed from dressed sandstone and black shale. The remains demonstrate the usual layout with a church running east-west, forming the north range of the cloister. Domestic buildings formed the southern range, lay-brothers' quarters formed the west range, the monks' quarters and chapter house the east range. The earliest standing remains are parts of the mid 12th century church. In the 14th century a chapel was added along its north side. The nave was shortened in the 15th/early 16th century, and the chancel was lengthened and widened. The cloister's lower courses of stonework survive. On the ground floor was a sacristy, chapter house and undercroft. The dorter formed the upper floor. The southern range contained the warming house, dining hall and kitchen. The west range contained the lay-brothers quarters and dining hall, but was latterly partly converted into the abbot's lodgings. Around the abbey except the west are earthworks indicating enclosures, stock pens, gardens, watercourses and the service buildings including the infirmary, bake house, brew house and abbey mill. Excavation and architectural analysis have recovered a substantial series of timber temporary buildings (the most extensive known on any Cistercian site). Considerable evidence was also recovered of a complex piped water supply installed at the foundation and maintained throughout the life of the abbey. The slow development of the cloister ranges between circa 1170 and 1220 demonstrates the process by which a small Cistercian monastery developed. The site is in the care of English Heritage.

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