Holme Cultram Abbey

Holme Cultram Abbey

Location : Abbeytown

Grid Ref : NY 177508


Holme Cultram Abbey was founded in 1150 by the Cistercian Monks from Melrose Abbey on the Scottish Borders. In the 15th Century the abbey was much larger than it is today, in fact it was bigger than Carlisle Cathedral. In 1538 with the dissolution of the monasteries the land passed to the Crown, and the monks were dispersed. The centre of the Abbey has survived as the Parish Church, with the rest of the Abbey falling into disrepair.



The Church you see today, 6 of the 9 bays of the nave of the original Abbey, is the result of restoration begun in 1703, and further work done in 1883 and 1913. There is a wonderful Norman arch at the west doorway, and a fine arcade of pillars in the side walls. There are fragments of tombstones, inscriptions, medieval tiles and masonry in the porch which are worth studying. The stained glass windows are also worth studying – there are many – by Wailes and Strang, Powell of Whitefriars, and E & C O’Neill. The five light East window is by William Wailes.




On Friday afternoon 9th June 2006, local youths set fire to Holme Cultram Abbey.

See a short movie of the Abbey as it was before the fire. Donald Foster, the organist for 30 years, plays “How great thou art”.

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