These covers show the development from the first official guidebook (St Botolph’s) issued by the Office of Works through to English Heritage. These guides range from small booklets to concertina card guides.
For the development of guides in Scotland see here.
The Cistercian abbey at Furness was established at the present site in 1127. It was placed in State Guardianship in 1923. The official guidebook was prepared by J.C. Dickinson in 1965. This contains a history, followed by an itinerary and description. A fold-out plan is placed inside the back cover.
The ‘blue guide’ continued into the 1980s as an English Heritage guide. It was replaced in 1998 by a new illustrated guide, combined with Piel Castle, by Stuart Harrison and Jason Wood; the section on Piel Castle was prepared by Rachel Newman. A fold-out plan of the abbey as well as its surrounding area is printed on the fold-out back cover.
Cambuskenneth Abbey, near Stirling, was founded in 1147.
The remains of the abbey were placed in State Guardianship in 1908. Stewart Cruden prepared the first guidebook in 1950; a second edition appeared in 1978. It consists of two parts: history and description. A plan is placed on the centre pages.
Arbroath Abbey was founded by William the Lion in 1178 in memory of Thomas Becket of Canterbury. Tironensian monks from Kelso helped to establish the community. The abbey was the setting for the Declaration of Arbroath on 5 April 1320.
The official guide is divided into two sections: a history by R.L. Mackie; and a description by Stewart Cruden. A conjectural reconstruction is placed in the centre, and a fold-out plan inside the back cover.
The Premonstratensian abbey at Shap was founded in the 12th century. The remains were placed in State Guardianship by the Lowther Estates in 1948.
The MPBW guide was first published in 1963. It was divided into two sections, each by separate authors (a pattern found for other sites, e.g. guides prepared by James S. Richardson). The history was prepared by H.M. Colvin of St John’s College, Oxford (pp. 3–5), followed by the Architectural History (pp. 5–6) and Description (pp. 6–15) by R. Gilyard-Beer. A fold-out plan of the abbey was placed inside the back cover. There are four black and white plates, including a pen drawing of 1859 and a Buck engraving of 1739.
The Cistercian abbey of Sweetheart was established in 1273. The remains were placed in State Guardianship in 1928. James S. Richardson prepared the first guidebook in 1934. A second edition was issued in 1951. It follows the standard format of History and Description, with a fold-out plan inside the back cover.
The Historic Scotland Official Souvenir Guide is Richardson’s guide, revised by Chris Tabraham. This has a guided tour followed by the history. The text differs from the one prepared by Richardson.