The Friends of Dore Abbey Web Site
A BRIEF HISTORY of DORE ABBEY
- The Abbey was founded in 1147 by French Cistercian Monks from Morimond.
- Construction of the present stone buildings in the ‘new’ Early English style started in 1175 and was consecrated in 1275
- Cistercian monks were not academic recluses but were skilled at managing their agricultural lands— in Dore’s case breeding sheep with fine wool. The wool was of exceptional quality and was sold in Italy.
- The Abbey avoided being razed by Owen Glendower in 1405.
- It was suppressed (dissolved) by Henry VIII in 1537 and the buildings sold to Lord John Scudamore.
- All the monastic buildings and the nave and roof of the Abbey were dismantled and the stone sold by Scudamore.
- All that remained (i.e. the present Abbey) was left as a roofless ruin until c1630
- John Scudamore’s great-great-grandson (John Viscount Scudamore) had no male heir—all his sons having died at birth or soon after. Archbishop Laud suggested that his ancestor had perhaps overdone the commercial benefits of the dissolution and that a penance may help. Restoring the ruins into a Parish Church was deemed an appropriate penance and the rebuilt church was re-consecrated in 1634. Subsequently, Scudamore’s wife had a son who survived !
- Laud had considerable influence on the restored church. The Screen through which the raised altar can be seen by the congregation was one of his innovations. His coat of arms together with those of Lord Scudamore and Charles I are on the Screen.
- The church was further restored, first around 1700 when the wall paintings were created, and later around 1900 when the church was ‘shrunk’ into what had been the presbytery. The Church you see today has been little altered since the 1900 rearrangement.
- Today it enjoys regular Church services, has a fine organ and is the venue for many concerts.
Background taken from Gentleman's Magazine, May 1792, page 393