Rievaulx Abbey, England
View of Abbey
This evening, I am posting information on Rievaulx Abbey which has a long history but now extends to a set of romantic ruins near Helmsley in Yorkshire, northern England. Site is about thirty miles north of the city of York. A summary site chronology is provided below.
- Founded 1132 by a small colony of 12 Cistercian monks from Clairvaux in Burgundy, France.( It was just sixty-six years previously that England was successfully invaded by a Norman-French army.)
- Grew to become one of the most powerful and respected monastic institutions in Britain.
- At peak in 1160s was home to 650 men who lived in a structured work and worship environment.
- Bishop Aelred (1147-67) was appointed third abbot and it was under Aelred that Rievaulx achieved a high reputation in the ruling circles of England, Scotland and France. It was under Aelred’s bishopric that most of the buildings evident today were constructed.
- Became a casualty of Henry VIII’s dissolution programe in the 1540s.
- Post dissolution,many of the buildings were destroyed by the new owner.
- In the 1750s the site gained a new role when landowner, Thomas Duncombe created a viewing terrace overlooking the valley below which included the abbey ruins. This provided a stunning setting which has attracted many artists and writers.
- Today, the site is managed by English Heritage and is open to the public.
Illustration of typical food during the medieval period, when th abbey was operational.
Medieval military reenactment at Rievaulx
Video clip of dancing demonstration during the medieval period taken at nearby Fountains Abbey.