Blanchland Abbey

Northumberland, 10 miles south of Hexham, on the River Derwent (ENGLISH)

Abbey of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Founded in1165 by Walter de Bolbec II (KNOWLES).  Daughter of Croxton (ENGLISH)

May have had no transepts.  Tower added at end of N transept in 13th century.  Lavatory was contrived in the adjoining west wall of the cloister near the refectory (CLAPHAM)

The farms of the abbey were pillaged and burnt during the wars against the Scots, especially in 1327, when the abbey itself was spared.  (KNOWLES).  The story goes that the raiders missed the abbey;  the thankful monks rang the bells;  the raiders returned and wiped out the monks (ENGLISH).  The community introduced cattle, sheep, rye and oats to the district and operated leadmines;  also known for its hunting  (ENGLISH)

1379-81:  5 canons;  in the time of Henry VII:  10 religious;  1500:  13;  shortly before the dissolution:  14

Visited by Edward III and Queen Philippa on their way to Scotland (ENGLISH)

Mid 14th century laxity (ENGLISH)

Dissolved 1536 as lesser monastery (value £40);  refounded by Henry VIII;  finally surrendered 18 Dec 1539 – abbot, subprior, 5 canons and 2 novices pensioned off  (KNOWLES).  Passed into the hands of the Radcliffe family and then the Forsters of Bamburgh;  Dorothy Forster married Lord Crewe, bishop of Durham and the family debts were paid off (ENGLISH)

Part of the buildings are now a pub.  13th presbytery, N transept and tower restored for use as a church in 1752.  S wall of nave, part of W range and gatehouse still standing (CLAPHAM) as a model village (ENGLISH)

South of the village lies an old monks’ bridge (ENGLISH)