SAVED (Shaftesbury Abbey: a Voyage of Exploration and Discovery)
The Shaftesbury Abbey & Museum Preservation Trust has been awarded £42,900 by the Heritage Lottery Fund. This funding, made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, along with partnership funding from a number of organisations and generous individuals, will enable an exciting community-based project to start soon at Shaftesbury Abbey.
The SAVED Project will enable volunteers from Shaftesbury and its surrounds, including pupils from six local schools and adults from many community groups, to be trained by professional archaeologists and historian. Together, they will then help in the first ever comprehensive archaeological and historical survey of the Abbey, its people and its influence on Shaftesbury town, the region and the country at large.
From its founding by Alfred the Great in 888, Shaftesbury Abbey rose in power and influence to become the most important women’s royal abbey in England. But, after Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539, its destruction was almost complete.
Now, nearly 500 years later, we can survey what survives both above and below ground using state-of-the-art technology, including laser-scanning and ground-penetrating radar. Using the results of our surveys, and with local consultation and enthusiasm, we will re-interpret and revise the presentation of both the surviving remains and the museum displays. Together they will tell everyone the glorious history of Shaftesbury’s abbey, its foundations, its people and its place in Shaftesbury’s history.
Julian Richards (second from left) with the Austrian archaeology survey team from the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute.