Waverley Abbey, Surrey:
|Remains of the lay brothers' range|
Fountains Abbey, North Yorkshire:
Fountains Abbey was founded as a Cistercian monastery in 1132 after 13 monks left the Benedictine house of St Mary's in order to pursue a harsher and more disciplined way of life. The abbey had a reputation for its care of the poor as it provided daily food rations and had an infirmary where the sick were treated. This reputation gained the abbey a number of wealthy benefactors, so that by 1535 it was the wealthiest and largest Cistercian abbey in England. In 1536 the abbot, William Thrisk, was accused of immorality and inadequacy so he was forced to resign. He was replaced by Marmaduke Bradley, a monk of the abbey who had reported and testified against Thrisk. The abbey was dissolved in 1539 when Bradley surrendered it to the royal commissioners. In 1540 the abbey and its 500 acres of land were sold by the crown to Sir Richard Gresham, who then dismantled parts of the abbey buildings in order to sell the materials. In 1597 the abbey was acquired by Sir Stephen Proctor who further dismantled parts of the abbey so that the stone could be used to build Fountains Hall. In 1986 the abbey and surrounding parkland was made a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Today the ruins include the calefactory, the lay brothers' range, the abbot's house, part of the gate and the guest house.
Rivaulx Abbey, North Yorkshire:
Kirkham Priory, North Yorkshire:
Kirkham Priory was founded as an Augustinian Priory by Walter l'Espec sometime in the 1120s. It is often said that Kirkham was founded by l'Espec in memory of his only son who died after falling from his horse when it was startled by a boar. Very little is known about this priory, but it is known that it struggled within just 20 years of its foundation as the Cistercians were more popular at this time. The priory was dissolved in 1539. Most of the ruins date from the 13th century including the spectacular gatehouse, which is pictured above. The gatehouse was built c.1205 and is a fine example of English Gothic architecture. It is covered with intricate carvings and sculptures; the sculptures include the figures of St George and the dragon, David and Goliath, St Bartholomew, St Philip and Christ. The remains of a medieval cross (in the foreground of the above picture) and fragments of stone vaulting have also survived.
Tintern Abbey, Wales:
Tintern Abbey was founded in 1131 as Cistercian abbey by Walter de Clare, Lord of Chepstow. The monks who lived at Tintern followed the Rule of St Benedict and held the basic principles of obedience, poverty, chastity, silence, prayer and work. The abbey's lands were divided into agricultural sections which the local people from the village of Tintern worked on. The abbey was dissolved in 1536, the abbey's valuables were confiscated and sent to the royal treasury and the abbot was given a pension. The abbey estate and buildings were then sold to Henry Somerset, Earl of Worcester, he then had the abbey roof stripped of its lead and some of the buildings were dismantled for their valuable stone. The most substantial part of the ruins is the abbey church which stands almost as it would have when it was a working abbey but it is missing windows and a roof.
Dryburgh Abbey, Scotland:
Dryburgh Abbey in the Scottish Borders was founded in 1150 by Hugh de Morville, Lord of Lauderdale. He invited Premonstratensian canons from Alnwick Abbey to occupy the new abbey, and they arrived in 1152. It became the premier house in Scotland of the Premonstratensian order and although it was not the wealthiest it received notable patronage from David I of Scotland and Beatrice de Beauchamp. Due to its location in the borders it was greatly affected by the Scottish Wars of Independence and it was burned down twice, once in 1322 and again in 1385. The Protestant Reformation in Scotland led to the gradual disintegration of monastic life at the abbey and by 1584 just two brethren remained alive. In June 1600 the last of the canons died and the abbey's working days ended, all of the abbey's remaining possessions were then given to John Eskine, Earl of Mar in 1604. Today the ruins of the 13th century chapter house (which still displays the original painted wall plaster), the warming house and the dormitory in the east range survive in substantial chunks. The final resting place of Sir Walter Scott can also be seen at the ruins.
Whitby Abbey, North Yorkshire:
Walsingham Priory, Norfolk:
Grey Abbey, Northern Ireland:
Glastonbury Abbey, Somerset:
The Stripping of the Altars by Eamon Duffy