More than 500 people go behind-the scenes at Whalley Abbey

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Visitors turned out in their hundreds to enjoy a rare opportunity to see inside the 16th century house at Whalley Abbey.

The open day was part of the national Heritage Open Days initiative to give people the chance to visit places not normally open to the public, and the Abbey’s Conference House and Retreat Centre proved to be a great hit with over 500 people visiting.

Conference house manager Christine Nelson said: “We were delighted with the response to our open days, especially Sunday when well over 300 people came to look around the house. We even had to print off extra guides. It just shows how interested people are in their local heritage.”

The conference house was built on the site of the 13th century Abbot’s lodging.

After Henry VIII dissolved the monastery in 1537, the monastic site was bought by Richard Assheton, who redeveloped the house.

Further additions and modifications took place during the 17th century and Victorian periods. The Grade I listed house and grounds were purchased by the Church of England in 1923 and are now owned by the Diocese of Blackburn.