Blanchland Abbey ProjectCommunity-led revitalisation of Blanchland, rooted in the authentic heritage of the unique monastic village

Blanchland’s residents want to recreate a thriving place in which to live and work, rooted in its unique historic fabric, authentic monastic heritage, and tranquil location. Through the Blanchland Community Development Organisation (BCDO) and the church PCC, residents began with the Blanchland Abbey Resilience Project  in 2019 which developed strategies for future use and management of our Scheduled Grade 1 parish church, the only community building under the control of the residents, and identified potential for sustainable economic development.

Support continued through the Rural Churches for Everyone project, and residents, in collaboration with local businesses and the principal landowners, the Lord Crewe Charity, want to be active in their community’s covid recovery. In November 2021 they were hit hard by Storm Arwen with the village’s power cut for more than a week, and water supplies affected too. During the spring of 2022 they worked with the North Of Tyne Combined Authority’s Rural Innovation Project to support local businesses to put our heritage at the heart of their recovery.

In September 2022 we announced:

Blanchland Community Development Organisation is thrilled to acknowledge a National Heritage Lottery Fund Grant grant of £98,900 towards the second stage of The Blanchland Abbey Project, the ‘6 As of Blanchland’. Together with a generous £20,000 from the Lord Crewe Charity to mark their tercentenary, this means that the project will be able to begin work on its ambitious and exciting programme next month.

Blanchland, Northumberland, within the AONB North Pennines, is the only village in the country to preserve the complete footprint of a medieval abbey.

Made possible thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, this project seeks to enable the whole community to participate actively in a heritage-led regeneration of their village.

The 6 A’s are: archaeology, acoustics, artefacts, archives, audiences and, not least, the abbey itself.

The project will include:

  • Archaeological investigation of intriguing anomalies revealed by ground penetrating radar, including what appear to be incredibly rare early medieval acoustic chambers.
  • A new exhibition in the Abbey featuring newly restored medieval glass and other artefacts.
  • Recording and analysis of an exceptionally rich heritage of graffiti in and around the abbey

– Blanchland’s social history.

  • An innovative 4D acoustic survey of the abbey to help explain why its acoustic is so special and to help us plan and adapt the building to accommodate a wide variety of events.
  • A richly varied programme of arts events to test out the possibilities offered by the building and to attract new audiences.

The project will secure continuing funding for a Project Manager and the addition of a Community and Events Officer to help achieve our vision and objectives.

Alice Ellison, Project Treasurer and long-term resident of Blanchland said, ‘this is totally exciting news. I’m really looking forward to it. It’ll make a huge difference to the abbey and the whole village. It’s a go-ahead project, all looking to the future.’

Blanchland Abbey Project News

Blanchland Abbey Project Events