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.
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 .
…..while this is taken through a cloister arch with a glimpse of a couple of the “white monks” we saw earlier….
I wonder if they have been restored? They are quite awe-inspiring – I refuse to use the word awesome!!!!!
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 out
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.
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.