Part of Rievaulx Abbey ?

Another old negative: this one from 1986 or 87. I am reasonably sure it’s Rievaulx Abbey
North Yorkshire.

The file sheet said: Abbey – Nikon F4 with Tokina 35-70 f2.8 AIs AT-X / T-max 400. There are 22 negatives in the file sheet and all of the same place.
I remember visiting Rievaulx Abbey in the mid 1980’s and as T-max came on the market in 1986, these were probably made late 86 or 87. That’s the problem going through old negatives, I was not so careful making notes as I assumed I would remember.

Rievaulx Abbey was a Cistercian monastery, founded in 1131 by Walter Espec in a secluded valley on the edge of the North York Moors.

The first structures at Rievaulx were temporary timber buildings, intended to serve only until proper permanent buildings could be erected in stone. The first stone structures were begun under the first abbot, William (1132-1145), sometime after 1135.
From these modest beginnings grew one of the wealthiest monasteries of medieval England and the first northern Cistercian monastery. Rievaulx enjoyed the protection of nearby Helmsley Castle, the owners of which provided much of the abbey’s land.

The plan for Rievaulx was to follow the same layout as that of the mother abbey of the order at Citeaux, in France. This consisted of a large church with a cloister range to the south. Abbot William’s church was taken down and rebuilt on a grand scale by the third abbot, Aelred (1147-1167).

The east end of the church was later torn down and enlarged by Abbot Roger II (1223-1239). One unusual feature at Rievaulx is the orientation of the church. Most churches in Britain, certainly established in the medieval period, are oriented loosely on an east/west line. At Rievaulx the layout of the site necessitated a different approach, and the abbey church is laid out on a north/south line.

The abbey was expanded in the period 1145-1165 and again in the late 12th century. Interestingly, though Rievaulx was reckoned the most important Cistercian house in England in the late 12th century, it reached the peak of its power around 1200, and from that point on life at Rievaulx became a struggle. Part of the struggle was the monk’s own fault; an ambitious programme of rebuilding and extending the abbey buildings in the 13th century led to heavy debts.

In the 13th century, a series of epidemics ravaged the abbey’s flocks of sheep, leaving them with far lower income than expected. They did engage in minor rebuilding during the 14th century, but by then the abbey had truly fallen upon hard times.

Parts of the abbey buildings were torn down in the 15th century and by the time of it’s suppression and confiscation by Henry VIII in 1538, it supported 22 monks and 100 lay people. Compare that to the 1160s when, under Abbot Aelred, it had a population of 140 monks and more than 500 lay brothers.
Above taken from: British History on line/ Catholic Encyclopædia & Encyclopædia Britannica.

 

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