HISTORICAL artefacts found with the skeleton of a long dead 12th century abbot will be a showpiece of a major medieval fair to raise the profile of Furness Abbey.

The artefacts, including a ring and crozier were discovered in April 2012 but are being returned and will be part of the fair on August 31 from 10am to 5pm.

The event has been organised by local support group, the newly-formed Furness Abbey fellowship.

The Fellowship is working closely with English Heritage to increase visitor numbers and place the abbey firmly on the national heritage map. The abbey on the outskirts of Barrow-in-Furness, was founded in 1127 by King Stephen.

It became one of the most significant and wealthy Cistercian monasteries in England and its sphere of influence ranged across the north west of England but also included religious houses in the Isle of Man and Ireland. Its power and wealth arose from the wool trade which was the equivalent in the Middle Ages of today’s oil industry.

Its wealth attracted Henry V111 to target it as the first large abbey to be dissolved and the surrender came in 1537.

Supports say a fantastic discovery was made recently of the fully articulated skeleton of an abbot, buried with his ring and crosier.

The unusual find has come at exactly the right time, after ongoing intensive conservation work to the historic fabric of the building, and it is hoped it will attract many more visitors to the abbey.

An explanation of the artefacts, excavation and buildings will be available, provided by English Heritage. A Living History Group-The Iron Shepherds will be displaying aspects of life in medieval times, with a village, craft and weapons demonstrations and displays throughout the day. Local artist Patrick Corbett will be demonstrating illuminated writing, Iain McNicoll will reprise his character, Brother John, demonstrating the use of herbs, Local poet Geraldine Green and Children’s author Gill Jepson will give readings in the Chapter House, Owen Jones will demonstrate traditional basket making and there will be music from an early Tudor group of musicians, the Dorian Players. There will be many other activities, with trails, quizzes and puppet shows for children around the abbey and tea, coffee and cakes will be available from Abbey Mill and a hog roast from Hartley’s of Dalton.

The Fellowship hope this will be the first of many such events and anyone wishing to donate or support in any way can contact them at furnessabbeyfellowship@gmail.com.