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Shap Abbey

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Shap Abbey is a secluded and atmospheric reminder of Britain’s Catholic history.  Standing isolated in a picturesque spot by the River Lowther in northern Britain, the striking remnants of Shap Abbey attract visitors from all over the country and serve as a reminder of a land once wrought with religious struggles.


First constructed in 1199 by the local monastic community in the small northern town of Hepp (which gradually adopted its current name of Shap over the centuries), the Shap Abbey – its full name being the Abbey Church of St. Mary Magdalene – endured over two hundred years of use but met its end after being afflicted with threats of dissolution for decades.

Being a Catholic place of worship, the abbey (like most others) was set for closure during the reign of King Henry VIII. However, for reasons still uncertain, Shap Abbey escaped the first phase of the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 1530s, but was closed and sold shortly after to the local rulers in Cumbria. The buildings quickly decayed after years of disuse and in the early 17th century that scaffolding and supports were removed throughout most of the structure in order to facilitate new construction sites nearby, leaving the abbey mostly in ruins. Shap Abbey’s impressive main tower still stands tall today as a reminder of the site’s past splendour.



Camping and Caravanning Club Site
A6 / Shap Road, Kendal
Cumbria, England, LA9 6NY
+44 (0)1539 741 363

Contact Details

  • Address: Shap Abbey Rd, Shap, Cumbria, England, United Kingdom, CA10 3NB
  • GPS: 54.530142,-2.699778
  • Phone: 0044 (0)800 015 0516
  • Part of UK: England
  • Sat Nav Postcode: CA10 3NB
  • Entrance Fees: Free Access
  • Disabled Access: Reasonable - Level but no paved paths
  • Visibility from Road: Good (building visible from closest road)
  • Image Credits: Header Image: Kevin Eaves

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