Fountains Abbey. Founded 1132.

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Comments (15)

Neil Grimwood on May 30, 2011

Founded in 1132 by 13 Benedictine Monks, Fountains Abbey near Ripon, became one of the largest, richest and the most influential Cistercian abbeys in Britain. Archbishop Thurston of York gave the monks the land. Old chronicles describe it as an, “..inhospitable valley thickset with thorns lying between the slopes of mountains among rocks jutting out both sides of the River Skell. Fit rather to the lair of wild beasts than the home of human beings”. Life was hard and the monks almost gave up, but they persevered. The monks began to receive gifts of money and endowments of land from wealthy families in exchange for prayers to save their souls The monks were assisted by lay brothers, mostly illiterate, they carried out the routine tasks of the Abbey; they served as masons, tanners, shoemakers, smiths and bakers. Sheep farming was the greatest source of income with many of the lay brothers working on the farms and granges. Lead mining, quarrying of stone and horse breeding were also very important. A decline in Fountains’ income began in the 14th century when bad harvests, sheep disease, the invasion of the North of England by Scottish armies and the Black Death caused severe problems. Many of the Lay brothers fled, leaving the abbey with little support. Dairy farming gradually took the place of sheep farming and there was a dramatic increase in prayers and masses said for the souls of the wealthy. The power, influence and riches of the abbey grew over the next 100 years, but by the 1530s Henry VIII had become angered by the influence of the churches, their wealth and independence from the Crown. By an Act of Parliament, known as the “Dissolution of the Monasteries”, Henry VIII closed all monasteries and nunneries in 1539. For almost the next 200 years, little happened on the Abbey site. It was not until the mid-18th Century that the Aislabie family of Ripon bought the Abbey buildings for £4000. John Aislabie, MP for Ripon and Chancellor of the Exchequer, invested large sums of Government money in the “South Sea Bubble”. Government money and much of his own was lost. After a succession of wealthy landowners the whole estate, including the deer park, was under the control of local councils between 1966 and 1983, when the National Trust took over the site. The estate became a World Heritage site in 1986.Today the site is a place of tranquility,as well as a haven for wildlife.Almost 350,000 visitors a year enjoy the beauty of the Fountains Estate.


Rosalyn Hilborne on May 31, 2011

Thanks for the history Neil. Another beautiful picture. I really like the colour of the sky against the Abbey. You know it's a BD!!! Cheers!

Neil Grimwood on May 31, 2011

Thanks Rosa, i like to add some history when possible,i think it creates just a little more interest.It was 25c that day,our warmest to date,hordes of people about making it difficult to get the shots i wanted,but we all had a nice day.Thankyou for the BD!!..very much appreciated;-)

Neil Aitkenhead on May 31, 2011

Nice! Like the natural framing from the tree - doesn't get in the way and adds to the shot!

Neil Grimwood on June 1, 2011

Thankyou kind sir!!, Thats just how i wanted it to be,glad you picked up on it Neil.

Neil Grimwood on June 3, 2011

Thanks Ian, nice to know its appreciated.

Stefano Fogazzi on June 8, 2011

Mi piace il contrasto tra la geometria dell'uomo e il "disordine" della natura."il tempo ci sfugge ma il segno del tempo rimane". Con simpatia Stefano

Neil Grimwood on June 9, 2011

Thankyou very much Stefano, i'm pleased you like it...Regards...Neil.

Clive on Beara on June 10, 2011

A fine view of this spectacular Abbey, Neil. I've not been there since just after my friend Ted Cullinan built his award-winning visitors' centre there in the mid 90's. Your history above is great - if you've 7 minutes to spare, you may also be interested to watch this: it's one of a series of RIBA drawing/talks that Ted did a couple of years ago; I just love his style of giving a talk about something he is passionate about. Nice work, Neil - Like, of course. Best wishes, Clive

Alireza Javaheri on June 11, 2011

Very good photo * like* , greetings from Iran - A-J

Yorkshire Sam on June 11, 2011

I 'll say prayers for thee in return for gifts and land if tha wants fella :D, especially for t'likes o thissen what has plenty to spare :D

A nice little composition !

Yorkshire Sam on June 11, 2011

PS maybe not, I dissent know as I could say enough to save thee :O)

Neil Grimwood on June 11, 2011

Aye, i'll tek a bit o' saving Sam;-)) Thanks for the ..nice little composition.

Tha can 'ave me lands and gifts,but tha wain't get any brass tha knows!!

Neil Grimwood on June 11, 2011

Alireza,thankyou very much...Regards...Neil.

Neil Grimwood on June 12, 2011

Thanks Clive, i think you'll find it hasn't changed much since the 90's.Thanks for the li nk too.

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Photo taken in Lindrick with Studley Royal and Fountains, North Yorkshire HG4, UK

Photo details

  • Uploaded on May 30, 2011
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by Neil Grimwood
    • Camera: SONY DSLR-A300
    • Taken on 2011/04/23 14:48:40
    • Exposure: 0.025s (1/40)
    • Focal Length: 28.00mm
    • F/Stop: f/16.000
    • ISO Speed: ISO100
    • Exposure Bias: -0.70 EV
    • No flash