Cockersands Abbey

Cockersands Abbey is a former abbey near Cockerham in Lancaster.

The landmark is situated near the mouth of the River Cocker, Lancashire. Founded before 1184 as the Hospital of St Mary on the marsh, it belonged to Leicester Abbey. Later on, it was refounded by the Cambro-Norman magnate, Theobald Walter, 1st Baron Butler as a Premonstratensian priory in 1190. Subsequently, it was elevated to an abbey in 1192. Furthermore, It also continued as a hospital. The Abbey was originally located in marsh land which was later drained, becoming known as St. Mary’s of the Marsh.

The abbey was dissolved in 1539 and acquired by a John Kitchen. The site is now adjacent to a farm house. The only significant relic is the still intact, vaulted chapter house which was built in 1230. This was used as a family mausoleum by the Daltons of Thurnham Hall during the 18th and 19th centuries. The land was acquired by the Daltons shortly after 1556, when Robert Dalton married Ann Kitchen. There are some scrappy remains of the church adjacent.

The chapter house is a Grade I listed building and Scheduled Ancient Monument. In 2007 English Heritage made an £80,000 grant to the owner to help preserve the building. The chapter house is open to the public on special occasions such as Heritage Open Days.

Two Roman silver statuettes were discovered on Cockersand Moss near the abbey site in 1718. Interestingly, these could indicate the presence of a Romano-British shrine near to Cockersands Abbey.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email