THOUSANDS of pounds worth of restoration work on one of Ribble Valley’s oldest buildings is now in full swing.

Sawley Abbey is part way through a 10-week repair programme which seeks to maintain the 12th century remains.


After a successful trial last year, the second phase started in September and involves consolidating the remainder of the high level walls around the transept and nave.

The abbey was founded in 1147 and is constructed of poor quality stone. The remaining core walls are made of ‘friable mud stone’ which is prone to decay. The ruins are managed by the Heritage Trust for the North-West in co-operation with English Heritage to preserve historic buildings.

The abbey has been given £170,000 over three years to complete the restoration with the final phase beginning next year.

The building will undergo a full brush-down with a soft chum brush to remove all loose debris, then the outer wall face will have its pointing removed in a careful manner without damaging the walls and replaced with a lime water mix.

The core wall erosion will be resurfaced with new mud stone to ensure structural integrity and slow down the rate of decay.

Roger Dyson, a member of the Heritage Trust, said : “I’m so pleased the work is being carried out before the darker months come. In harsh winter weather the bricks and mortar will just crumble away bit by bit if nothing is done about it .”

The Cistercian monastery was founded in by William de Percy and colonised by monks from Newminster Abbey in Northumberland before its dissolution in 1536.

Waddington and West Bradford councillor Paul Elms said he fully supported the restoration of the ancient building.

“What is left of this very old structure needs to be preserved as it’s one of the many attractions in the Ribble Valley and it brings people from far around to see,” he said.

“Historical buildings such as this must be preserved in order to maintain them so they’re not banished to the history books.”