Set in the magnificent Vale of Nightshade, Furness Abbey was built in stages between 1127 and the 16th Century, the site is one of the most impressive religious monuments in the care of English Heritage.
Founded in 1123 by Stephen, Count of Boulogne, it was built originally for the Order of Savigny. Located in the 'Vale of Nightshade', south of Dalton-in-Furness, the abbey is built entirely out of local sandstone. It passed in 1147 to the Cistercians, who gradually enlarged and rebuilt the original ornate church. The majority of the current ruins date from the 12th and 13th centuries.
By the 15th century, it had been completely re-modelled and had become the second richest and most powerful - as well as one of the grandest - Cistercian Abbeys in England, behind Fountains Abbey. The gothic-style monastery and its adjacent structures cover an expansive area of land and reach a maximum height of 40 metres (131 ft) above ground level.