The Sad Loss of Sawley Abbey

Sawley Abbey, between Clitheroe and Gisburn, is significant for two reasons. Firstly, it was the abode and resting place of William of Rimington, Chancellor of Oxford University and arch-opponent of the great John Wycliffe. Secondly, Robert Aske arrived here in 1536 in order to re-open it after the government had ordered its dissolution. For this, the monks and Abbot, one Trafford, were hanged en-site.

I’m not fan of abbeys; so called men of God secreting themselves away from the world while others toiled to keep them fat. Monasticism was seen as too closely allied to Roman Catholicism to survive the reformation. I cannot wonder though, that Henry’s government missed a trick for the sake of short term financial gain. Rather than selling of all their lands and letting the buildings go to rack and ruin, they might have continued their roles as hospitals, hostels and schools. This secularising of religious orders did appear to work with the Teutonic Order in Germany which became the regular duchy of Prussia.

How England might have flourished with this built-in healthcare and education system left intact; not until the late nineteenth century and mid twentieth centuries would we recover the lost ground. 

Rimington's grave? Located in a side aisle in the transept, surrounded by floor tiles. The only grave marker I was able to find. 

The steps down which the choir monks would enter the abbey church in the night to sing.

Other remains lie aburied in nearby fields.