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Pictures of Abbey Town

in the county of Cumbria

About Abbey Town

When the sun starts to slip and shadows lengthen, the beauty of the red sandstone building of St.Mary's Church becomes bathed in a golden glow. This splendid building is all that remains of a once great Abbey built by monks, centuries ago. Holme Cultram Abbey was founded as a Cistercian Monastery in the year 1150. The monks grew grain, traded in salt from the estuary's along the Solway Firth and raised sheep and cattle. At the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 16th-century, the Abbey was ripped apart, stones were stolen to build houses, its treasures plundered. Fortunately, its beautiful church remained and in spite of restoration and alteration work carried out over centuries, the church is as inspiring to the congregations of today as it must have been to the holy men who built it.

In the church there are 12th-century Oak beams, an 18th-century Bellcot with a bell from the 15th-century. A Norman doorway exists with an early 16th-century porch and because of alterations in the 18th-century the aisled nave which once had nine bays, is reduced to six. Treasures of the church include two 17th-century chests, a medieval font and the tomb of Robert Bruce's father. Interestingly, this is England's only remaining Cistercian abbey with a nave still used as a house of God.

Abbey Town lies on the River Waver, it is typical of the town's and villages lying amongst vast agricultural lands watered by the Waver as it snakes its way towards Moricambe Bay and the open waters of the Solway Firth. The people here are warm and friendly, proud to talk of the old abbey and their historic links with the sea. It is a pleasant village to wander around, there is a graceful three arched bridge built in 1770 and a fine collection of attractive cottages, some overlook the river where lovely river-side walks reveal a wealth of wildlife.

At nearby Silloth you will find the newly opened Solway Coast Discovery Centre where you can discover 10,000 years of Solway history.

A visit to this part of Cumbria will reap rich rewards. There are spectacular views of the distant Galloway Hills with a dramatic backdrop of Lakeland fells adding to the enchantment. Given that this is an area of outstanding natural beauty it is not surprising to find that in recent years Abbey Town and neighbouring places have become all year round tourist destinations, for in this special corner of England there is truly something for everyone. Especially the walker, for whom the land opens up in a glorious panorama of natural beauty where nature and wildlife flourish.

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