The final phase of a vital conservation project at Furness Abbey in Cumbria will give visitors the opportunity to see the conservation work as it happens, English Heritage has announced today (Thursday 9 July). The £650,000 project will be the next step in a ten year programme of maintenance, investigation, monitoring and testing, to ensure the long term stability and safety of Furness Abbey’s presbytery, as well as the conservation of three other highly significant areas of the site, including the West Tower, East range and Infirmary.
The works, which will commence towards the end of summer 2020 and take approximately 12 months to complete, represent the latest in a series of interventions to address issues with the structural stability of the abbey’s presbytery.
A crack in the presbytery wall was first noticed in 2008 and the first phase of works involved the installation of a temporary steel cradle to ensure no further damage occurred. Archaeological excavation around the base of the structure followed to establish the cause of the problem and develop a solution. Between 2012 and 2015 underpinning work took place to the north, south and eastern walls of the Presbytery. Monitoring work followed to access the potential for further movement. Now, in what is hoped will be the final phase of conservation works, grout will be injected into the rubble-filled cavity between of the walls. This work will greatly increase the structure’s stability. Though further monitoring will need to take place, it is hoped that the works will ultimately lead to the removal of the steel cradle.