Monument details

HER Number:758/1/0
Type of record:Archaeology
Name:Vale Royal Abbey


The site of Vale Royal Abbey is a Scheduled Monument. This Cistercian monastery was built on land granted by the future Edward I (1272-1307) following his escape from a shipwreck in 1263. It was originally founded at Darnhall, but this site proved to be unsuitable for a new Abbey and the new site in the manor of Connersley was chosen and named Vale Royal, reflecting its royal support. The Cistercians were a strict order who followed the rules of St. Benedict, adhering to the vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience. They lived a self sufficient, secluded lifestyle with an emphasis on farming. Their un-dyed robes meant they were known as the "white monks".

In 1539, Henry VIII ordered the abolition of the many monasteries of Britain. He set out to gain their wealth and power for himself as the newly designated head of the Church of England. Vale Royal Abbey and lands were bought for 450 pounds by Thomas Holcroft at the Dissolution. Holcroft pulled down the church and most of the buildings as ordered, and converted the west and south range of the cloister and some associated buildings into his manor house.

Excavations of the site by Basil Pendleton in 1911 revealed the plan of the nave, aisle and transepts and the fan shaped east end of the church with its 13 chapels was revealed in excavations by Hugh Thompson 1958. The interior of the cloister and the chapter house have never been fully excavated but there are indications that considerable remains lie below the surface. Originally, the whole abbey would have been enclosed by a boundary wall but this does not survive.


Monument Types

  • ABBEY (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CISTERCIAN MONASTERY (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • RELIGIOUS HOUSE (Religious Site, Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
Protected Status:Scheduled Monument 1016862: Vale Royal Abbey

Related records

758/1/2Related to: Monk's Cemetery, Vale Royal Abbey (Monument)
758/1/4Related to: Vale Royal Abbey - Abbey Kitchen (Monument)
758/1/5Related to: Vale Royal Abbey - Refectory (Monument)
758/1/3Related to: Vale Royal Abbey Chapter House (Monument)
758/1/1Related to: Vale Royal Abbey Church (Monument)
758/1/6Related to: Vale Royal Abbey Cloister (Monument)
758/1/7Related to: Vale Royal Abbey Conduit (Monument)
830/1/0Related to: Vale Royal House (Building)

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