Furness Abbey and Sandscale Haws

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The Duddon estuary from Sandscale Haws

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Sedilia

I had a hankering to revisit Furness Abbey, so off I went. I got off the train at Dalton and cycled the couple of miles to the site. The abbey originally belonged to the reforming Savignac Order but later became – like Fountains Abbey – Cistercian and enormously powerful and wealthy. It was both isolated – on the dewdrop of the Barrow peninsula – and influential – in that it faced towards the Isle of Man and Ireland. Cracks appeared some years ago in the chancel, so it’s no longer possible to get up close to the impressive sedilia (seats for the clergy), but there was still much to wander around, ticking off “Romanesque” and “Gothic” on my mental checklist. The long undercroft is particularly nice:

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There’s not much decoration left  – it was that type of monastic order but also the red sandstone doesn’t weather well – but I did notice some pincer-type decoration in a sheltered position which brought to mind the much earlier Mausoleum of Theodoric in Ravenna:

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And other bits that I liked:

After lunch, I set off towards the Duddon estuary to see if the roads were pleasant enough for cycling. I’m happy to say that they were, so I ended up at Sandscale Haws. Bracing wind, beautiful view and lovely sand:

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My mileage for the day may even have reached double digits.

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