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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 June 2007, 14:44 GMT 15:44 UK
Ancient abbey is saved by grant
Cockersand Abbey
Cockersand Abbey was dissolved by Henry VIII in 1539
The ruins of an ancient abbey in Lancashire are to be saved thanks to a grant by English Heritage.

The 13th Century Cockersand Abbey is to receive 80,000 in funding to help preserve the octagonal chapter house.

At the height of its power the French order who ran the abbey also owned more than 35,000 acres of land in Lancashire, Yorkshire and Cheshire.

English Heritage said: "We can ensure that the delights of the abbey will exist for future generations."

Situated on the coastline near Thurnham, Lancaster, overlooking Morecambe Bay, Cockersand Abbey was dissolved by Henry VIII in 1539 following the creation of the Church of England.

Although the majority of the abbey was demolished, the chapter house survived and was later used as a mausoleum from 1785 to 1861.

Ancient monument

Tim Wilkins, English Heritage historic buildings architect, said: "Cockersand Abbey has a fascinating history and it continues to intrigue those who are lucky enough to explore it.

"With this grant, we can ensure that the delights of the abbey will exist for future generations."

Restoration work will begin on the Grade I listed building, which is also a Scheduled Ancient Monument, in Spring 2008.

Cockersand Abbey and the surrounding land is owned by farmer Dennis Kellet.

He said: "Cockersand Abbey was built in 1230 and was the third wealthiest abbey in Lancashire - it owned thousands of acres of land spread as far afield as Yorkshire and Cheshire.

Hopeful future

"I am very fond of the place, so it's excellent to hear about the restoration plans," Dennis added.

The work, which is expected to take three months, will protect the chapter house from wave and storm erosion from the Irish Sea.

Elaine Blackett-Ord, from Elaine Rigby Architects of Appleby, Cumbria, is overseeing the project.

"This is a very significant building as Cockersand is thought to be the only example of an octagonal chapter house in that kind of abbey in this country," she said.

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