Furness Abbey, Barrow in Furness

Furness Abbey, or St. Mary of Furness, is a former Cistercian monastery situated on the outskirts of the town of Barrow in Furness in Cumbria. Founded by King Stephen it dates back to 1123, it was once the second wealthiest and most powerful monastery in the country, behind only Fountains Abbey in North Yorkshire.

Client
English Heritage
Architect/client representative
Donald Insall Associates, Chester
Contract value
£232,000

The remains, including much of the east end and west tower of the church, along with the ornately decorated chapter house and the cloister buildings are still very impressive and give some indication of the buildings original grandeur.

Historic Property Restoration has carried out work on both Furness Abbey and Fountains Abbey in our role as a specialist heritage conservation contractor.

As part of our continued work for English Heritage, Historic Property Restoration is carrying out emergency conservation work to literally prevent the Presbytery of the abbey from collapse. Routine inspections revealed serious cracks and movement in the walls of the Presbytery caused by the use of large pieces of oak by the medieval masons to support the ashlar stone of the structure which is lying on top of rubble foundations. Not surprisingly after 500 years the timber is gradually rotting away allowing the masonry above to sink and the walls to lose their structural integrity.

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"From my personal perspective, this was one of the best projects I have been involved with over the last 35 years as a Chartered Building Surveyor, RIS Accredited in Building Conservation. My client role on this was a complete pleasure, because you and your team were first class, complementing the excellent professional design team. Well done!"

Richard Dunn -
PCC Project Co-ordinator, for St John the Baptist Church, Wilberfoss

"May I take this opportunity to thank you and your staff for your professional and unfailingly helpful conduct during this project. We particularly appreciate the efforts made to overcome the deficiencies and problems arising from the previous contractor."

Andrew Bodenham -
Blackett Ord Conservation

"HPR recognise, and allow for, the necessary archaeological recording to take place during consolidation work and the disruptions that this may cause to their planned programme of work comes as no surprise to them. This awareness means that their workforce is able to be pro-active in informing the archaeologist of any possible instances when recording may be necessary."

Mick Krupa -
NPHT Archaeologist at Nenthead Smeltmill

"Historic Property Restoration carried out the first phase of the refurbishment of the Grade II listed Town Hall. The company were extremely professional in their approach throughout the entire process as befits a company with extensive experience in the conservation and restoration sector."

David Lodge -
Greater Morpeth Development Trust

"Historic Property Restoration deliver good quality work to programme and budget on a regular basis. They are reliable and value for money."

Ian Merritt -
English Heritage Conservation and Maintenance Manager
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Substantial bespoke structural steelwork designed by EH engineers to support the walls was supplied and installed by HPR to prevent the loss of the structure.

Subsequent phases of underpinning work by HPR have involved cutting through sections of the foundations [including the timbers] using diamond coated wires and inserting concrete pads using specialist rapid hardening cement. Continual monitoring of the walls will dictate when the steelwork can be safely dismantled and further masonry repair work is planned.