At the turn of the millennium, Delapré Abbey was a building without a purpose and a building “at risk”. It was in real need of extensive repairs to ensure the future survival of this Grade II* listed building.


Recognising the importance of Delapré Abbey as the town’s key heritage project, Northampton Borough Council worked closely with the Delapré Abbey Preservation Trust (DAPT) and the Friends of Delapré Abbey (FoDA) to help develop plans to safeguard the Abbey’s future. Hoping to bring substantial parts of it into public use as an events space and visitor asset, whilst ensuring the building was conserved, securing the historic fabric and structure of the Abbey was of the utmost importance.

The award of a £3.65 million Heritage Lottery Fund grant in 2013 meant that the first phase of these ambitious restoration and regeneration plans could begin.

Phase one

This first phase of works has taken nearly 4 years to complete starting with detailed design work and planning during 2014 whilst extensive roofing works (funded separately by Historic England) were carried out.

A number of specialists undertook paint analysis, infrastructure work, and archaeological investigations at the Abbey and the results of these works helped provide the architects and planners with a better understanding of how the Abbey developed over the centuries. It also informed what and how the restoration and conservation work took place.

The journey

As with most projects of this type, we’ve experienced some unforeseen hurdles throughout.

These include discovery of a medieval cellar, which has now been preserved beneath the new kitchen, and a plunge pool – perhaps one of the most unusual elements of the building discovered so far.

In fact, following the discovery of several Roman artefacts in 2015, it is now known that the Abbey’s history stretches back up to a century longer than previously thought.

The next stage

This massive restoration project was only the start of the work needed at Delapré Abbey – the plan is that the income generated by opening the house to the public and its use as a venue for weddings, events and conferences will generate funds to invest in the Abbey and enable future projects restoring more parts of the Abbey, including the 19th century stables.