Ancient Monuments

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Blanchland Premonstratensian Abbey

A Scheduled Monument in Blanchland, Northumberland

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Latitude: 54.8483 / 54°50'53"N

Longitude: -2.0539 / 2°3'14"W

OS Eastings: 396633.930124

OS Northings: 550385.827329

OS Grid: NY966503

Mapcode National: GBR GD3C.4T

Mapcode Global: WHB2Z.FD5L

Entry Name: Blanchland Premonstratensian Abbey

Scheduled Date: 7 December 1990

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017683

English Heritage Legacy ID: 12612

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Blanchland

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Blanchland with Hunstanworth

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument comprises the site of the nave, south transept, cloister
garth, east claustral range and part of the monastic graveyard of
Blanchland Abbey. Remains of all these features survive beneath the
modern ground surface. The later 12th/early 13th century standing cross
west of the church tower is also included.
The Abbey was founded for the Canons of the Order of Premontre (the
Premonstratensians) by Walter de Bolbeck in 1165. Although never a very
large house, it was visited by Edward III in 1327 following its burning
by Scots raiders. The monastery was initially dissolved in 1536 only to
be reformed by the King in 1537 before being finally dissolved in 1539.
The site passed through secular hands and was acquired by the Forster
family in the early 17th century. By this time or soon after, the
cloister had become the core of the mansion, parts of which survive
today as the Lord Crewe Arms Hotel (Listed Building Grade II*).
The northern and western walls of the former parish burial ground are
included in this scheduling as they are considered to incorporate areas
of medieval fabric. Other walls demarcating the edge of the area of the
monument are not included in the scheduling. A row of buildings to
the rear of the Hotel adjacent to the south boundary of the monument are
excluded from the scheduling, but the ground beneath them is included.
The area of the scheduling comprises only part of the former monastic
precinct. It should be noted that the following features of the abbey
are not included: 1) the parish church which comprises the north
transept and choir of the monastic church. 2) the present parochial
graveyard east of the parish church; 3) the remains of the west and
south ranges of the cloister and of buildings which originally formed
four sides of the monastic outer court (including the precinct
gatehouse) which have been converted in various ways into dwellings etc.
4) the village square and adjacent roads. These are all considered at
present to be adequately covered by other forms of statutory protection,
notably listed building legislation and conservation controls.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Blanchland Abbey was one of approximately thirty-one abbeys of the
Premonstratensian Order in Medieval England. Of these the remains of
only about a dozen survive to any extent and the remains at Blanchland
form one of the most complete examples. The site at Blanchland has
several features which distinguish it from other monasteries of this
order. In particular it has the only surviving example of a roofed
Premonstratensian church and is one of only a handful where the west and
south claustral ranges survive to any extent. The greatest importance of
the site, however, for which it is justly famous, is the completeness
with which the whole precinct plan survives and can be seen in the
modern village-scape. The monastic buildings were taken over in the
years after the Dissolution to make a complete village. The monastic
church became the parish church, the cloisters became the manor house
and the outer court became the village square surrounded by the
villagers' cottages. Even today the village consists of few buildings
beyond this remarkable core. The area of the of the scheduling itself
contains some of the least disturbed features and deposits relating to
the monastery, notably part of the church, cloisters and burial ground,
which are of great importance for any analysis of the archaeology and
history of this monastery and for the monastic life in the border
country of northern England.

Source: Historic England

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