Tongland Abbey Excavations Open Day
The Open Day runs from 11am to 4pm on Saturday, 28 September – all welcome. By kind permission of the owner, there is car parking in the grounds of Mansewood. Admission is free but donations to excavation funds are always welcome.
A team of local volunteers working under professional supervision have been undertaking an archaeological excavation on the site of Tongland Abbey since April. There will be an opportunity to see what’s been discovered of the abbey’s buildings at a special Open Day on Saturday, 28 September, before the excavation trenches are back-filled in early October.
Tongland Abbey was founded in 1218 by Alan, Lord of Galloway for the Premonstratensian order of canons, who came up to Tongland from Cockersand Abbey on the Lancashire coast near Lancaster. The abbey continued in use by the canons until the early 16th century, but became ruinous thereafter. However remains of the abbey buildings could still be seen close to the old parish church of Tongland until around 1800. Knowledge of the precise location of the abbey and its associated buildings has since been lost and the archaeological dig is aiming to re-establish the exact site of the abbey and its general layout.
Trial excavations have been carried out over the last 4 years in the garden of Mansewood, the former Tongland Manse. These followed a geophysical survey of the garden commissioned by Tongland and Ringford Community Council in 2015, as part of the Magna Carta 800 anniversary events. To date, substantial stone foundations have been found which may indicate the location of the west wall and south range of the abbey cloister. If this is confirmed then the site of the abbey church may be presumed to lie in the present Tongland churchyard.