Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Visit to Thornton Abbey

In the top right hand corner of North Lincolnshire, close to the villages of Thornton Curtis, East Halton, and Barrow on Humber, is the largest monastic gatehouse in England. Although I have been living here a number of years now I have never been to see it. It's about time I did.
Thornton Abbey and Gatehouse is managed by English Heritage. Here is a link to their web site.
 There is more information on Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia, link here.

Thornton Abbey   

Ruins of Thornton Abbey
Thornton Abbey was founded as a priory in 1139 by William le Gros, the Earl of Yorkshire, and raised to the status of Abbey in 1148. It was a house for Augustinian or black canons. These priests lived a communal life under the Rule of St Augustine but also undertook pastoral duties outside of the Abbey. Officers within the Abbey besides the abbot and prior included a cellarer, bursar, chamberlain, sacrist, kitchener and an infirmer. It is located close to the small North Lincolnshire village of Thornton Curtis.
The abbey was closed in 1539 by Henry VIII as part of the dissolution Thornton was a wealthy and prestigious house valued at the dissolution, at the considerable sum of £591 0s 2 ¾ d.

This is my photograph of the front gate, as you approach from the car park. It looks rather magnificent but on closer inspection most of the brickwork is crumbling. Hardly surprising considering how old it is. I am not sure if any preservation work is planned, or if any has been carried out. There is no obvious evidence of it.
This photo is taken from the English Heritage web site, it's the view of the gatehouse from the inside looking out.

 There are ornate carvings above the archway.

These are the original doors which are now so crumbling from the bottom up, they are secured safely against the walls. Imagine the work that went in to carve doors of this size.

I got as far as peeking through the archway to see what is inside the grounds, when a lady emerged from inside the shop and said she will have to charge me if I go any further. I decided not to pay the £4.10 and walked away. There didn't seem to be much else to look at apart from the gatehouse. I see there is a photo of the last remaining ruins of The Chapter House, (small picture above), apart from that it is all grassland with pleasant walks amongst a few ruins. Nice to spend a couple of hours walking around or picnicking in the sunshine if you are in the area, it's free entry if you are a member of English Heritage. You can walk from Barton along the Humber bank, to Immingham, but any further south and you hit the docks and industrial areas, which are full of chemical works and gas plants. I might go and have a look there one day.
It's sunny again today, so best make the most of it and go outside.
Toodle pip.


  1. I'm not far from you (Caistor) and you inspire me to explore my own local area. I went to Thornton Abbey when I was a child and remember being fascinated by it but now I'm an OAP I must re-explore it.

  2. I love to place my hands on old walls/buildings...just to link myself with the past. Passers by must think I'm bonkers!
    Jane x

  3. Lovely old place. Glad they're still trying to keep it together. Though I used to live not too far away I have never heard of it. Wish I'd visited it while I was there.

  4. Beautiful!!!
    I love 'traveling' through your pictures!

  5. Remember cycling past it a couple of years ago but decided not to pay to go in.
    Jane, I understand about touching walls, standing stones etc. sometimes feel strange micro vibrations . Brenda in the Boro

  6. The most amazing place in The Midlands and you won't spend four quid to go inside. Thats amazing. We went last time we were in England and were stunned. You can not claim and interest in history if you only look thro the windows.

    1. I don't claim an interest in history, I just like looking at the architecture of the past. Glad you enjoyed your trip.

  7. If I seem a little peeved at your cavalier dismissal on Thornton its because you may influence other people to believe there is nothing to see. You also disparage T.A. in another post regarding Gainsborough Old Hall. The Abbey needs to be viewed in the context of its surroundings (miles from anywhere) and the current magnificence of the buildings and use a little imagination to think what it would have been like when it was white and visible for miles in that flat countryside. Gainsborough Hall has been open for years but its still just a nice building inside a nice town.

    1. Hello. If you read my blog you will see I am quite selective about what I am prepared to pay for when I'm out. I prioritize my spending making sure I live within my means. I choose not to pay entrance fees to walk around places that I either don't have time to look at, or I'm not that interested to see what's inside.

      I love the outdoors more than the indoors. I like art galleries, but not so much museums.

      People can choose to disagree with me, like yourself, but this is my blog, it's about my life, about what I see and what I do. I can't make up glowing reports about something, unless it stirs a passion within me.

      I read lots of opinions which I don't agree with, that's life, I just move on. Try not to be peeved, we are all different.


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