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Here is a brief guide to the antient Abbeys you may stumble upon while visiting Yorkshire.

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Must see ancient abbeys and priories in Yorkshire


1) Bolton Abbey

A 12th century Augustinian priory set in a superb position on the banks of the River Wharfe. The abbey was founded around 1154 by monks from Embsay who were granted land here by Lady Alice de Romille of Skipton Castle.


It is great place to walk along the river Wharf and peacefully admire the greateness of such a place. Great part of the Abbey is still standing and one might buy a home made food inside for a price which is entirely up to you!

2) Fountains Abbey

The original abbey was a random scattering of simple timber structures, but through the 1140s these were gradually replaced with a more formal arrangement around a traditional monastic cloister. The church was the first building to be rebuilt in stone, and this was finished by 1136. However, in 1146 the timber buildings burned down and the monks were forced to start again.


There is so much to see at Fountains that it is impossible to think of it as a single historic attractions. It is much more; a magnificent medieval abbey, an elegant Georgian water garden, a richly decorated Victorian church, and a medieval deer park


TIP: Don't worry and take a whole day to explore this area the park surrounding this abbey is truly wonderful and enormly vast.

3) Whitby Abbey

Sometime around 657AD St Hilda founded a double monastery on the cliffs above the natural harbour of Whitby. Remains of the 7th century foundations have been found to the north of the ruined abbey church we see today. That church was built after the Saxon monastery was refounded as a Benedictine priory in 1078. In the 12th century the priory was raised to full abbey status. The church was largely rebuilt in the first half of the 13th century. 


TIP: Take a look around the pictoresque town of Whitby as well. It is said that count Dracula himself landed here as Bram Stoker got inspired by this magnificent murky and yet impressive atmosphere.

4) Jervaulx Abbey

Jervaulx Abbey is a ruined Cistercian monastery located in a peaceful valley setting in the Vale of Ure, a few miles east of the Yorkshire Dales. The monastery was founded in 1156 as a daughter house of Byland Abbey. Apart from its historical significance and the beauty of the location, Jervaulx is known for its horticulture; over 180 varieties of wildflower grow in and on the abbey walls.


TIP: Don't forget to visit local tourist centre with exquisite restaurant same goes for nearby towns of Middleham and Masham with theirs breweries!

5) Kirkham Priory

Kirkham Priory was founded as an Augustinian monastic house around 1120 by Walter Espec, Lord of Helmsley. It is rather surprising to consider that in its heyday, Kirkham Priory rivalled Rievaulx Abbey as one of the largest and wealthiest monastic settlements in the north of England. 


TIP: Visit the nearby forests in which the priory is wonderfully set. Also historic roman town Malton is not far away.