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HistoryRushen Abbey was founded in 1134 by Monks of the Sauvignac Order from Furness Abbey in Cumbria on land granted to them by King Olaf I. In 1147 the order came into Cistercian control and by 1257 the Abbey Church was completed. The site included over a mile of land to the south and west as well as land holdings in Malew, Lezayre and Lonan. The Abbey built its church and buildings to the required rules of St Benedict. The monks also followed the strict rules of worship set out. The location of the Abbey was selected due to its close proximity to Castle Rushen, which was nearly two miles away in the town of Castletown.
The Abbey went through a boom in the early 1900's as its grounds were turned into gardens with refreshments. Most famous were the strawberries and cream. The site however fell into disrepair after World War II and by the 1980's the grounds were in a very bad state. After many attempts by the Manx Government to buy the site, it was finally acquired it in May 1998. Soon after Manx National Heritage began to excavate the site and reconstruct life at the old Abbey. Extensive restoration work was done in 2000, when a modern interactive museum was added with children's play area.
LocationBallasalla is in the south of the island near Castletown.
Ballasalla is near Castletown along the A5 (Douglas Road).
Plan your journey with our Bus and Rail Timetables.
Ballasalla can be reached by the taking the Electric Railway to Douglas and then the Steam Railway to Ballasalla.
Ballasalla can be reached on the Steam Railway from Douglas going to Port Erin or by taking the Port Erin train going to Douglas.
Visiting the Rushen AbbeySet near the Ballasalla are the ruins of a church once built by monks. The site has been preserved by Manx National Heritage who still run active digs around the church. Visitors are first welcomed into a large modern building with an interactive museum. Passing through the museum where audio and video presentations, as well as models, and signs tell the story of Rushen Abbey. Part of the museum has been specially designed for children. Allowing them to be a monk, build an arch, dig for artifacts and much more. Once out of the museum visitors find themselves over looking the ruins of Rushen Abbey. Paths and signs mark out key locations, explaining different parts of the abbey. There is large garden area with wild flowers, herbs, and trees. A picnic area with umbrella covered tables welcomes people to enjoy a break. Rushen Abbey is great for children and families, but don't forget to bring some refreshments.
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