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Dore Abbey, Abbeydore, Herefordshire

St. Mary’s, Abbeydore PCC
1996- to present

Dore Abbey is one of the architectural gems of the Welsh marshes. Beautifully set in Herefordshire’s golden valley, the church is an evocative monument to 850 years of history. The Cistercian Abbey was founded in 1147 but fell into ruins after the Dissolution. The east end was reinstated as a church in 1633. Since then, there have been few changes to this delightful building.

The practice is keen to ensure that proposals to improve the building for both the parish and the public are being carefully balanced with the need to preserve the special atmosphere of the Abbey.

Initial phases saw the rationalisation of the rainwater disposal system and installation of new underground drainage. Together with the consolidation of the remains of the Cloisters and Sacristy, here a scheme was devised that retained the benign vegetation in situ. In addition to protecting the character of the ruins this “soft topping” has the advantage of reducing the run off of rainwater and minimising erosion of stonework below.

A significant part of the project has been re-roofing. The original roof was covered in Herefordshire stone tiles but these had reached the end of their life and required replacement. Unfortunately the only quarry producing suitable local stone tiles would have taken 10 years to produce the quantity required.

Thanks to a major grant from English Heritage and active support from Herefordshire Council, the Herefordshire Stone Tile Project was created, drawing together interested parties both locally and nationally.
It was able to help local farmers re-open stone tile delves (very shallow excavations for extraction of stone for tiling). It also helped with the training of stone tile dressers and as a result, production started again in the local stone tile industry.

Roof repairs have now been completed to the chancel and north transept, west elevation and south transept.

Whilst these roof works were in progress the opportunity was taken to carefully conserve the stone walling and pointing but in such a manner as to maintain the patina of age. Many different mixes of mortar were identified to ensure that the repairs carefully blended in with the existing structure.

Work is currently in progress to conserve the walled garden which incorporates significant quantities of the fabric of the mediaeval cloister.


Dore Abbey Picture Gallery


Roof repairs have now been completed to the chancel and north transept, west elevation and south transept

Showing how old and new can blend perfectly


Craftsmen at work


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