Sunday, December 28, 2014

Bolton Abbey

Another classic post from the archives--"this past weekend" was in October 2011!

We visited Bolton Abbey this past weekend (which may be a long, long time ago depending on when you read this). It was a fun Saturday adventure wandering over hill and dale, through ruin and rain. We parked at the first parking lot we came too, which was also the closest one to the ruins of the abbey and the still functioning church. We did have to walk through a little bit of the town and a big hole in the wall to get there.

Sneaking in to the Abbey!

Wandering down the hill, J wanted to see the big bridge and waterfalls we could hear below. We wandered over. My wife and I remembered visiting long ago and seeing the stepping stones across the river. I can't remember if we used them but I don't remember the bridge being there either. We walked out across the bridge but came back so we could visit the abbey.

Check out that bridge AND waterfall...

And stones to walk across the water!

J's favorite part of the bridge

This abbey is unique in that it is both a ruins and a functioning church. During the closing of the monasteries, this church was divided in half and partially used as a parish church. We were able to see both.

Model of the 14th century abbey

Ruins on right; working church on left

The church had a bell pull in the corner that J was very interested in (just like the bell ringing in Hexham Abbey!). A nice lady told us they allow children to ring the bell at noon during the week for midday prayers. We'll have to come back at just the right time.

No ringing right now, alas! Also, we couldn't go up the staircase.

Main altar at Bolton Abbey church

The church does still have 14th century stained glass, along with a memorial window of St. Cuthbert, bishop of Lindisfarne and patron of the Bolton Priory.

14th century stuff--long-lasting and beautiful.

St. Cuthbert with the head of St. Oswald, King of Northumbria

After the priory, we headed off to the tea shop to get a snack. It was a long walk. We passed a memorial to the Cavendish family (who are the Dukes of Devonshire, but who also inherited Bolton Abbey through marriage). J loved this because it was a fountain.

L races ahead to the Cavendish Memorial

J enjoyed it even though he could barely see it

We also had to go down a long stair case and cross a large field and an even larger parking lot. Eventually we found the tea shop and had snacks.

Mommy and J head down from the memorial

L races ahead!

The snack shop had lots of Halloween decorations, mostly cotton spider webs and little insects. J had a fun time explaining to mommy and daddy when we'd point to a plastic spider and he'd say it wasn't real and we shouldn't be worried. We walked back with another stop at the bridge. It was a fun visit and we may come back again, if only to ring the bell.

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