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Unlocking a Future for Delapré Abbey

One of Northampton's most important historic sites has a thriving future ahead of it, thanks to grant aid and advice from Historic England and other partners.

Delapré Abbey has featured on Historic England's Heritage at Risk register since the first edition in 1998. Now it's reopening as a community hub for this growing town, and an attraction for visitors from further afield.

Find out how you can get involved

History of Delapré

The monastic history of Delapré stretches back to 1145 when Simon of Senlis founded a Cluniac nunnery. The existing buildings mainly date back to the 16th century when the site became a private dwelling. Additions and alterations have been made through the centuries since, including some fine mid-19th century painted interiors in the south range.

The newly restored 19th century ceiling in the south range at Delapré Abbey
The newly restored 19th century ceiling in the south range at Delapré Abbey

Located just outside Northampton town centre, the house is surrounded by parkland (which includes the Registered Battlefield of Northampton). It's a valued amenity for the town, and housed the Northamptonshire Records Office until 1992. It then fell on hard times.

Rescued from hard times

Over the ensuing years the building was under-used and its condition gradually deteriorated. The fine stone walls had become badly eroded, with poor pointing. Roofs, window frames, gutters and downpipes were all in a poor condition and in need of urgent work.

Historic England stepped in to grant-aid the most urgent repairs to the roofs. These have recently been completed, and bought time for us to work with partners to map out a long-term future.

Plans for the abbey’s future

Northampton Borough Council has leased the house to the Delapré Abbey Preservation Trust. The Heritage Lottery Fund have awarded funds towards a £6.3m project which will make the Abbey a landmark heritage attraction and wedding and conference venue.

Work to repair and enhance the south range has now been completed, including the restoration of the Victorian painted interiors. As a consequence the Abbey will soon open its doors to the public for the first time.

We look forward to continuing to provide expert advice on the next phases so that Delapré once again becomes the heart and soul of Northampton.

See the Delapré Abbey Preservation Trust's exciting plans

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