"Serene Splendour in the beautiful Yorkshire Moors." Rievaulx by ranger49
Rievaulx Travel Guide: 6 reviews and 25 photos
Until the establishment of the Abbey the village of Rievaulx did not exist. There is some evidence of human occupation from Neolithic times but this sheltered Valley remained undisturbed until Bernard of the Cistercian Monastery at Clairvaulx in Burgundy was inspired to extend monastic rule to northern England and Scotland. Through carefully planned negotiation with King Henry 1 and the local Royal Justice, Walter Espec, approval and patronage was obtained. A band of monks from the parent monastery in France was despatched to establish the first off-shoot of the Order in this secluded, unknown place which they named Rievaulx from the river Rye and their own word for valley
Housed originally in wooden dwellings they quickly recruited lay-members and new recruits to the order. The buildings included the essential place for prayer and a refuge for travellers. Farming and fishing provided for their needs and in time trade and industrial activities like tanning, brewing and iron smelting were established.
As the numbers grew so did the abbey building. Thanks to plentiful supplies of building materials local stone of several different kinds, an abundance of wood from the neighbouring forests and water the building took shape along the lines common within the Cistercian community. With the exception that the Church was built from east to west rather than in the Christian tradition of north to south due to the constraints of the available terraced terrain.
But this idyll of tranquillity, harmony and compassion was not to last. A catalogue of personal, social and world events had disatrous consequences for the Abbey and its inhabitants.
Financial problems and outstanding debts, epidemics of cattle and sheep diseases, the plague of the Black death which swept Europe in the 14th Century, attacks from the Scots, allegations of mis-conduct, and strife,resulting in a death, between the Abbey and neighbours and between Rievaulx and other Abbeys. And finally religious and political disagreements and the loss of patronage. - all these reduced the numbers at the monastery.
By the time of King Henry V111 decision to abolish monasteries and the Dissolution in 1538 the numbers still remaining there had been reduced from the 640 of the glory days to little more than 20..,
It was the around the original settlement of the lay members who continued to work the land that the village grew, and through which visitors now pass to the Abbey remains, admiring thatched cottages and a picture of tranquil rural life in the 21st, century.
The walkway along a grassy terrace created by the Duncombe family in the 18th Century, with spendid views and gardens... more travel advice
This is an area renowned for its walking opportunities and includes part of the Cleveland Way. The stretch between... more travel advice
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