Rievaulx Abbey, Rievaulx, North Yorkshire: The Abbey is located in a wooded valley by the River Rye and was founded as a Cistercian Abbey in 1132 when 12 monks came from Clairvaux Abbey in France.
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Friday, 13 December 2019

Rievaulx Abbey

Rievaulx Abbey

Rievaulx Abbey is located in Rievaulx in a wooded valley by the River Rye and was founded as a Cistercian Abbey in 1132 when 12 monks came from Clairvaux Abbey in France.  It was the first Cistercian Abbbey in the North of England.  It's remote location was ideal for the Cistercians who followed a strict life of prayer and self-sufficiency with little contact with the outside world.

Despite its modest beginnings it was to become one of the geatest and most wealthiest of all monastries in England, with 140 monks and many more lay brothers at its peak in 1160.  Many of the building visible today were constructed by the third Abbot Aelred (1147-67).  Aelred wrote several influential books on spirituality, among them Speculum caritatis and De spiritali amicitia, along with several works of history.

By the end of the 13th century the Abbey had incurred a great deal of debt with its building projects, this was further compunded by an outbreak of sheep scab, the Scottish raids in the early 14th century and the Black Death in the mid 14th century.  By 1381 there were only fourteen choir monks, three lay brothers and the abbot left at Rievaulx.

Rievaulx Abbey

The abbey was dissolved by King Henry VIII in 1538. At that time there were said to be 72 buildings occupied by an abbot and 21 monks, attended by 102 servants, with an income of £351 a year.  Henry ordered the buildings to be rendered uninhabitable and stripped of valuables such as lead.  The abbey site was given to the Earl of Rutland and later passed into the hands of the Duncombe family, who also owned the nearby Helmsley Castle. In the 1750s Thomas Duncombe III built a terrace overlooking the abbey with two Grecian-style temples.

There is a pay and display car park in front of the visitors centre which is refundable to paying visitors.  There are also toilets and a cafe at the site.

The abbey ruins are now in the care of English Heritage. 

Entrance Prices:
English Heritage Members: Free
Adult: £6.20
Child: £3.70

View Rievaulx Abbey Gallery »

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Beautiful is akin to Sweetheart Abbey in Scotland but much larger thank you kindly for the photo beautiful.

Posted by: DizzyWitch on 01/08/2011

 

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