"The First Cistercian Abbey in Yorkshire" Rievaulx Things to Do Tip by ranger49

Rievaulx Things to Do: 6 reviews and 22 photos

You may have seen pictures of Rievaulx Abbey but as you wend your way down the wooded lane, that leads to the village, nothing can really prepare you for your first glimpse of the elegance and majesty of the lofty remains, still standing after 800 years in this secluded, peaceful valley.
It is not hard to understand why St. Bernard of Clairvaulx, finding so deserted a place early in the 12th century, chose it as the site for the first Cistercian monastery in Northern England. From here, relying on the riches of the land, the forests and the river, the Cistercians planned to settle, to establish monastic life - and to convert the English and the Scottish. Their ultimate aim was to establish a newtwork of monasteries throughout the two countries.. An aim they went along way to achieve - I discovered a list of 135 in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland .
As you leave the Exhibition Hall you will see the first of many information points that will direct you to the starting point for the audio tour.
This will provide you with much historical information and insights into the pattern of life at Rievaulx, starting with those first few monks sent from the parent House in Burgundy, the lay brethren who joined them and subsequent recruits.
I felt some of the presentaion was over romaticised and failed to describe fully the rise and fall of Rievaulx. Further reading suggests that the original values of poverty, piety, prayer, commitment, industrious living and charity were subsumed to the development of power and wealth. This has to be set within the perspective of religious schism, international strife and warfare, plague and a downturn in economic fortunes.

But it is possible to wander among these splendid ruins and recall

This Rievaulx was the first offshoot of the Cistercian Order
in the territory of York. Those who had been sent were holy
and religious men, glorying in poverty and keeping peace with
all men, For they bore the stamp of discipline of their Clairvaux, whence they had come, and were redolent in their deeds of piety.
Monks in need of mercy and compassion flocked to Rievaulx
from foreign peoples and from the far ends of the earth,
that there in very truth they might find peace and the holiness
without no man shall see God.
Walter Daniel, Life of Aelred -3rd Abbott of Rievaulx

Open all Year except 25th & 26th. Dec. and Jan.1st.
Admission 5.
Concession Children and Seniors.
Free to Members of English Heritage and CADW.
Shop and Cafe.

Address: Rievaulx, Helmsley,YO6 5LB
Directions: In Rievaulx; 2 1/4 miles N of Helmsley, on minor road off B1257
Phone: 01439 798228
Website: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Was this review helpful?

  • Updated Jun 17, 2009
  • Send to a Friend
  • Add to your Trip Planner
  • Report Abuse



“Cherish the past. Adorn the present. Construct for the future - Clough Williams Ellis”

Online Now


Top 1,000 Travel Writer
Member Rank:
0 0 2 9 3
Forum Rank:
0 0 0 1 0

Have you been to Rievaulx?

  Share Your Travels