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Friday, 2 May 2014

Furness Abbey, Cumbria

Furness Abbey

Furness Abbey was founded in 1123 by Stephen, Count of Boulogne (later King of England), on the northern outskirts of Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria. It was originally a house for the monastic Congregation of Savigny, but later became famous as the second most powerful Cistercian monastry in the country.

The abbey is built entirely of sandstone and was enlarged in the 12th and 13th centuries and it is from this building phase that much of the ruins come from remain today. In the 15th century, the western tower was built and also still survives to a good height, providing some of the intricate design work that must have been employed during its construction.

Furness Abbey now lies in ruins, after being ordered to be destroyed by Henry VIII in 1537. Despite this, it has been visited by a number of famous people including painter J M W Turner and a young Theodore Roosevelt. The abbey even prompted William Wordsworth to write a poem, At Furness Abbey [1844], following numerous visits there.

In modern times, the abbey has been subjected to some media attention, with Channel 4 reporting on a grave that revealed the first crozier (a staff with a crook on top) to be excavated in over 50 years. In addition to this, an impressive gemstone ring was also uncovered, and both have been on display at Furness Abbey since April 2014.

The abbey itself is undergoing emergency conservation work by English Heritage to stop it sinking into the ground. It was originally built on huge oak foundations, which have started to give way after 500 years. Target Fixings was contacted as part of these repairs as there was concern over the possibility of some of the stones moving or falling from the openings during the underpinning repairs.

In 2012, Target surveyed the site with a view to assisting English Heritage with identifying potential problems and assisting with the method of repair. A comprehensive report was produced, recommending the use of several of Target's standard repair methods working together.

In 2014, Target Structural was given the green light for the project, and spent three days on site installing Bar Flex and Cem Flex to provide a hidden repair, so as not to spoil the beauty of one of the UK's most historic buildings.

More information on all of the above can be found at the following websites: