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Sunday, 13 January 2013

Fountains Abbey

Another of Colin’s and my trips out in the summer, when he wasn’t long out of hospital, took us to Fountains Abbey, apparently the largest abbey ruins in the country.  I wouldn’t argue with that, though I might say that it has a rival contender in Easby Abbey which we saw another day!  Anyway, having started with about a dozen Cistercian monks in the 12th century, Fountains grew to become a monastery of considerable importance, before Henry VIII ordered the dissolution of the monasteries in 1539.  As well as the “white monks” who lived a very austere life in the Abbey, lay brothers also worked for the abbey in the fields and  in other trades that allowed the monks more time to devote to their worship of God.

abbey tower We probably didn’t start at quite the right spot or we might have seen more of the estate – Fountains Hall, for example, and the Mill. However Colin not having been out of hospital too long at that stage, it was probably enough to see what we did.  It involved quite a bit of walking .

Fountains Abbey monks


We arrived at the abbey itself just as a group of  not very tall “white monks” were being led into the nearest building – a group of school children on a study visit.abbey ruins


We wandered round the abbey buildings by ourselves, taking photos from different directions.  I think this is a view of the abbey from the ruins of the abbot’s house….abbey tower from cloister arch

…..while this is taken through a cloister arch with a glimpse of a couple of the “white monks” we saw earlier….

abbey church ….and now we are in the abbey church itself.  It amazes me how these arches, pillars and vaults are still intact after all these years.abbey church aisle pillars

I wonder if they have been restored? They are quite awe-inspiring – I refuse to use the word awesome!!!!!

the great cloister interior

This is the great cloister, with the cloister garden through the windows on the left.  I really want to show ALL my photos of the Fountains Abbey buildings here  Let’s see how many I can put in.near the tower .



 To be honest I’m not sure exactly where this was taken but surely that must be part of the tower.  What work went into carving the blocks of stone and the ornamental gateways and windows.  This is a model of how the Abbey probably once looked in its heyday around the 15th century, before Henry VIII ordered its dissolution.  I have labelled the buildings as to their use.  I hope you can make them outabbey model inscribedthe great cloister

This is from about the same angle as the model, so there’s the great cloister in the centre with the church on its left. The buildngs on the right would have been part of the hospitium where pilgrims and other visitors to the abbey would be entertained. 

I found several little neuks and crannies where little wild flowers had seeded themselves. I love these little niches of colour against the greys of the stonework….a niche of wild flowers

a drop of colour

wild flowers


and these tiny ferns with the beautiful wild orchid and the yellow flowers.

Well, I hope I’ve shown you enough to whet your appetite for a visit to Fountains Abbey.

Talk again soon.


Peggy said...

you most certainly have!

Evelyn/Ev/Evee said...

Excellent, Peggy! Add it to the list!

Katrina said...

It's well worth a visit, good walking shoes are required if you go around the estate, it was much bigger than I expected it to be. Great photos.

Katrina said...

It's well worth a visit, good walking shoes are required if you go around the estate, it was much bigger than I expected it to be. Great photos.

Evelyn/Ev/Evee said...

|Yes, you are right, Katrina. It is a large estate, so we took the car round to the other entrance before exploring the water gardens. That's my next entry. I'm working on that right now.
Glad you like the photos!