button to main menu   Ford's Description of the Lakes, 1839/1843

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Page 77:-

  St Bees Abbey
The Abbey owes its first foundation, according to tradition, to a holy woman called Bega, who came over from Ireland in the year 650. This house did not escape the barbarous ravages of the Danes, for we find William, brother of Ranulph de Meschiens, re-establishing it as a cell for a Prior and six Benedictine monks, dependent on St. Mary's in York. Another great benefactor was William de Fortibus, Earl of Albemarle. Its revenues at the dissolution were £149 19s. 6d. It was granted to Sir Thomas Chaloner, of York, but now belongs to the Earl of Lonsdale. The Abbey Church consists of a nave with aisles, used as the parish church, transepts, and choir, which has had a south aisle, and is at present fitted up for the Clerical Institution. The general style is early English, but the west front has a Norman door of imposing appearance, which is a plain bold specimen of that style, though much delapidated, from the nature of the stone and exposure to the sea blasts. The piers, five in number, that support the arches of the nave, are round, hexagonal, and clustered: this part is spoiled by the introduction of modern sash windows, quite out of character. The transepts, from the way in which they are appropriated, cannot well be examined. The interior arrangement at the east end of the choir is singular; three beautiful lancets rise from a string, the centre one being higher and
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