After a great first day, we were eager for some more walks and abbey ruins. Luckily, Yorkshire is happy to oblige – we set off for Rievaulx Abbey and walking the Yorkshire Moors. The Moors are quite beautiful.
The weather was still crisp, but the walk over the hills and through the woods was great. Then we came around the corner, and there was the abbey! It’s huge!
Rievaulx Abbey was founded in 1132 by twelve monks from York as a mission for the colonisation of the north of England and Scotland. It was the first Cistercian abbey in the north. With time it became one of the great Cistercian abbeys of Yorkshire, second only to Fountains Abbey in fame.
Aelred, elected abbot in 1147, founded no further daughter houses but instead encouraged the growth of his abbey. By the time of his death 20 years later it contained 140 monks and perhaps 500 lay brothers and lay servants.
These are the old cloisters of the abbey. They would’ve provided accommodation for the choir monks. Three storeys high at its southern end, the middle storey may have housed lay brothers and the uppermost floor was the monks’ dormitory.
The monks all ate together in the refectory, and like at Fountains Abbey, the monks ate in silence while a reading was given from the pulpit.
In the 13th century, Aelred’s 12th century church was doubled in size. This extension is still mostly standing and looks amazing. Love all the arches!
This abbey was amazing, and we had a great day out to see it.
But there’s more to Yorkshire than just parks and abbey ruins (though those were awesome). We always made sure to find a few geocaches and drop off a travel bug that we’d like other geocache people to transport to NZ. Be awesome if it makes it!
We wandered around Richard’s village where we were staying. The village used to be a Roman town, and has a little museum around some of the uncovered ruins. Nothing spectacular, but kind of awesome to think that there could be Roman ruins under every village in England, perhaps. This really was a Roman nation.
We also did our bit to thank Richard to having us. We spent, like, 3 hours on Sunday afternoon doing weeding, hedge trimming and general gardening in the garden. The weather was great for it though, and Rob was rewarded with beer and a barbecue!! Brilliant!
Big thanks to Richard for having us and showing us around his corner of Yorkshire. Was a great weekend.
We’ll have to go back some time!