Blanchland: Abbey’s history uncovered
Last updated at 13:26, Monday, 30 September 2013
REMAINS of Blanchland’s medieval abbey dating back to 1165 have been unearthed during an ambitious upgrade of the village’s historic hotel.
Part of the abbey’s cloisters and a flight of steps leading to the nave have been discovered in the grounds of the Lord Crewe Arms during a survey.
Fragments of hand painted glass, dating back to 1180 and the original fireplace in the abbot’s residence were also found by archaeologists using thermal imaging equipment.
The discoveries last year halted plans for a £1.5m refurbishment of the hotel.
However, this week, it was all systems go again as developers Calcot Hotels and owners, the Lord Crewe’s Charitable Trust, got the green light to continue the facelift of the 850-year-old hotel.
Calcot’s managing director Richard Ball said his company was anxious to tread very carefully at every stage of the restoration work.
“Previous work in the last century has not necessarily been so sympathetic,” he said.
“We take the view that whatever we do must safeguard the future of these special buildings, not just for the next 50 years or so, but for the next 500 years.”
Inside the main body of the hotel features of abbey life are still present, with large flagstone floored fireplaces, the crypt and its barrel vaulted ceiling – all part of the original abbey buildings before the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 1530s.
These will be preserved as the Lord Crewe is turned into a 21-bed country house hotel.
Plans include the reinstatement of the restaurant and pub, as well as creating facilities for private events that are “‘fit for purpose in the 21st century”.
A grand re-opening is planned for early 2014.
Mr Ball said: “This has been a long time coming but, such is the heritage of this wonderful old building, it is absolutely right that we had to look very carefully at all the concerns which could arise as a result of installing up-to-date facilities into an ancient property.”
First published at 13:25, Monday, 30 September 2013
Published by http://www.hexhamcourant.co.uk
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