Founded in 1123 by Stephen, Count of Blois, it was built originally for the Order of Savigny. Located in the 'Valley of the Deadly Nightshade' between Dalton-in-Furness and Barrow-in-Furness, the abbey is built entirely out of local sandstone. It passed in 1147 to the Cistercians, who gradually enlarged and rebuilt the original ornate church. The majority of the current ruins date from the 12th and 13th centuries. By the 15th Century it had been completely re-modelled and had become the second richest and most powerful – as well as one of the grandest – Cistercian Abbeys in the UK, behind Fountains Abbey.
Rev. C. Arthur Lane Illustrated Notes on English Church History (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1901)
Courtesy the private collection of Roy Winkelman