Social Icons


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Fountains Abbey in England

Fountains Abbey is near to Aldfield, approximately two miles southwest of Ripon in North Yorkshire, England. It is a ruined Cistercian monastery, founded in 1132. Fountains Abbey is one of the largest and best preserved Cistercian houses in England. It is a Grade I listed building and owned by the National Trust. Along with the adjacent Studley Royal Water Garden, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The details of Fountains Abbey are explained in World tour guides below.
Fountains AbbeyFountains Abbey was founded in 1132 following a dispute and riot at St Marys Abbey in York. Following the riot, thirteen monks were exiled and after unsuccessfully attempting to return to the early 6th century Rule of St Benedict, were taken into the protection of Thurstan, Archbishop of York. He provided them with a site in the valley of the River Skell. The enclosed valley had all the required materials for the creation of a monastery, providing shelter from the weather, stone and timber for building, and a running supply of water. The monks applied to join the Cistercian order in 1132.

The abbey operated for over 400 years, until 1539, when Henry VIII ordered the Dissolution of the Monasteries. The Abbey buildings and over 500 acres or 2 km² of land were then sold by the Crown, on 1 October 1540, to Sir Richard Gresham, the London merchant, father of the founder of the Royal Exchange, Sir Thomas Gresham.

The construction of Abbey began in 1132, with rock quarried locally, although the original monastery buildings received considerable additions and alterations in the later period of the order, causing deviations from the strict Cistercian type. The church stands a short distance to the north of the River Skell, the buildings of the abbey stretching down to and across the stream. The cloister is to the south, with the three-aisled chapter-house and calefactory opening from its eastern walk, and the refectory, with the kitchen and buttery attached, at right angles to its southern walk.

Parallel with the western walk is an immense vaulted substructure, incorrectly styled the cloisters, serving as cellars and store-rooms, and supporting the dormitory of the conversi above. This building extended across the river. At its southwest corner were the necessaries, also built, as usual, above the swiftly flowing stream. The monks' dormitory was in its usual position above the chapter-house, to the south of the transept.

Fountains AbbeyFountains AbbeyPeculiarities of arrangement include the position of the kitchen, between the refectory and calefactory, and of the infirmary above the river to the west, adjoining the guest-houses. In addition, there is a greatly lengthened choir, commenced by Abbot John of York, 1203–11, and carried on by his successor, terminating, like Durham Cathedral, in an eastern transept, the work of Abbot John of Kent, 1220–47, and to the tower, added not long before the dissolution by Abbot Huby, 1494–1526, in a very unusual position at the northern end of the north transept. Among other apartments, for the designation of which see the ground plan, was a domestic oratory or chapel, 46½ ft by 23 ft, and a kitchen, 50 ft by 38 ft. St Mary's Church, designed by William Burges is nearby.

Fountains Abbey is maintained by English Heritage, and owned by the National Trust. It is immediately adjacent to another National Trust property, Studley Royal Park, with which it is jointly marketed. The Trust also owns Fountains Hall, to which there is partial public access. The Porter's Lodge, formerly the gatehouse entrance for the Abbey property, features a modern exhibit area with displays about the history of Fountains Abbey and the monks’ lives. In January 2010, Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal became two of the first National Trust properties to be included in Google Street View, using the Google Trike.

No comments: