Whalley Abbey

A short distance from Great Mitton is Whalley Abbey. 

Whalley Abbey (photo courtesy of Elizabeth Ashworth)

The Abbey was founded by Henry de Lacy (2) in 1296 after the monks moved from the Cistercian Abbey of Stanlow. It was closed in 1537 during Henry Vlll’s dissolution of the monasteries and the property passed into private hands and was adapted by Ralph Assheton to make an Elizabethan Manor House.

The early Mitton genealogy was recorded by the Abbots and can be found in the Coucher Book of Whalley (Vol. 3, page 680) transcribed from the Latin by the The Chetham Society in the 19th century.

DSC_0891Death mask above of Henry de Lacy, 3rd. Earl of Lincoln at Whalley Abbey and the last of the male de Lacy Lords of Bowland. It was this Henry de Lacy that built Whalley Abbey later destroyed by Henry the eighth. It is said that the lead roof of the abbey was removed and reinstalled at Hampton Court. Henry de Lacy`s death in 1310 precipitated the end of the de Mittons as Lords of Mitton manor and they no longer resided as such after 1312.

Whalley is mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in 798, when a battle was fought
in which Alric son of Heardbert and many others were killed (Farrer and Brownbill
1966, 349). Sculptured crosses in the churchyard are thought to date from the ninth
to eleventh centuries (LSMR 185) and furthermore the present church of St Mary and
All Saints is said to be built on the site of an eighth century church (LSMR 724) and a
later Norman structure. This Parish Church originally had thirteen chapels belonging
to it, including Blackburn and Clitheroe and the medieval parish of Whalley was the
second largest in the whole of England and contained forty-five townships, extending
from Clitheroe to Haslingden, Accrington to Colne (Crosby 1998, 31).