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.
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.
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
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.