Dore Abbey is an amazing place. Incredibly bizarre too.
In the middle of nowhere, down a small lane and one of the few tells it’s there was an archway leading into it. As I walked in it looked almost abandoned, I expected it to be standing as a monument to the past rather than a running building of worship. There were old artificial flowers sat on a table in what looked like a limp attempt to make the place brighter or more inviting. Degraded images of scrolls and scripture adorn the walls, visibly scarred by time. Bits of building that have fallen here and there have been laid down around the perimeter inside. There’s pieces of A4 paper, yellowed from the light which explain what each parts of the building, neatly organised like a rock collection, are.
Then in the very centre, surrounded by corridors, you go through a wooden arch and there’s a running church. Electric lights, a perfectly kept alter and pews.
There were wicker chairs covered in dust dotted around, the same kind my Grandmother had in a dining table set in her thatched cottage as I was growing up. Along one corridor along the perimeter they were just sat there, empty, either side of an open tomb. It gave me the mental image of two elderly ladies sat knitting, as if waiting for something to emerge.
It’s probably one of the most mystifying places I’ve had the pleasure to go and photograph. I really can’t put into words just how surreal it felt to stumble across it.
You can find out more about the history of the Abbey at the Friends of Dore Abbey website here