Cloisters of Saint John Lateran, Rome. Source:

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Fountains Abbey (Part Three).

Text and Illustrations from Wikipedia - the free encyclopaedia,
unless otherwise stated.

Fountains Abbey,
Yorkshire, England.
Photo: 28 June 2014.
Source: Own work.
Author: Diliff.
Attribution: Photo by DAVID ILIFF.
License: CC-BY-SA 3.0
(Wikimedia Commons)

When Marmaduke Huby died, he was succeeded by William Thirsk, who was accused by the Royal Commissioners of immorality and inadequacy, and dismissed from the Abbacy and replaced by Marmaduke Bradley, a Monk of the Abbey who had reported Thirsk's supposed offences, testified against him and offered the authorities 600 Marks for the Abbacy. In 1539, Bradley surrendered the Abbey, when Henry VIII ordered the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

The Abbey precinct covered seventy acres (twenty-eight hectares), surrounded by an eleven foot (3.4 m) wall, built in the 13th-Century, some parts of which are visible to the South and West of the Abbey. The area consists of three concentric zones, cut by the River Skell flowing from West to East across the site. The Church and Claustral (Cloistered) buildings stand at the centre of the precinct, The early Abbey buildings were added to, and altered, over time, causing deviations from the strict Cistercian type. Outside the walls, were the Abbey's Granges [Editor: Estates used for food production].

The original Abbey Church was built of wood and "was probably" two-storeys high; it was, however, quickly replaced in stone. The Church was damaged in the attack on the Abbey, in 1146, and was rebuilt, on a larger scale, on the same site. Building work was completed circa 1170. This structure was 300-foot (91 m) long, and had eleven Bays in the Side Aisles. A Lantern Tower was added at The Crossing of the Church in the Late-12th-Century.

Fountains Abbey,
Yorkshire, England.
Photo: 3 August 2004.
Source: Own work.
Author: Johnteslade.
(Wikimedia Commons)

The Presbytery, at the Eastern End of the Church, was much altered in the 13th-Century. The Church's greatly-lengthened Choir, commenced by Abbot John of York, 1203–1211, and carried on by his successor, terminates, like that of Durham Cathedral, in an Eastern Transept, the work of Abbot John of Kent, 1220–1247. The 160-foot (49 m) Tower, which was added not long before the Dissolution of the Monasteries, by Abbot Huby, 1494–1526, is in an unusual position at the Northern End of the North Transept and bears Huby's Motto 'Soli Deo Honor et Gloria' (Honour and Glory to God alone). The Sacristry adjoined the South Transept.

The Cloister, which had Arcading of Black Marble from Nidderdale, and White Sandstone, is in the centre of the precinct and to the South of the Church. The Three-Aisled Chapter-House and Parlour open from the Eastern Walk of the Cloister and the Refectory, with the Kitchen and Buttery, attached, are at Right Angles to its Southern Walk.

Parallel with the Western Walk, is an immense Vaulted sub-structure, serving as Cellars and Store-Rooms, which supported the Dormitory of the Conversi (Lay Brothers), above. This building extended across the River and, at its South-West Corner, were the Latrines, built above the swiftly-flowing stream. The Monks' Dormitory was in its usual position, above the Chapter-House, to the South of the Transept. Peculiarities of this arrangement include the position of the Kitchen, between the Refectory and Calefactory (Warming-House), and of the Infirmary, above the River to the West, adjoining the Guest-Houses.

Fountains Abbey,
Yorkshire, England.
Photo: August 2006.
Source: English wikipedia
Author: LordHarris on English Wikipedia
(Wikimedia Commons)

The Abbot's House, one of the largest in all of England, is located to the East of the Latrines, where portions of it are suspended on Arches over the River Skell. It was built in the Mid-12th-Century as a modest single-storey structure, then, from the 14th-Century, underwent extensive expansion and re-modelling, to end up, in the 16th-Century, as a grand dwelling with fine Bay Windows and grand Fireplaces. The Great Hall was an expansive room 52 metres by 21 metres (171 ft by 69 ft). Among other Apartments, was a Domestic Oratory or Chapel.

Mediaeval Monasteries were sustained by Landed Estates, that were given to them as Endowments and, from which, they derived an income from rents. They were the gifts of the Founder and subsequent Patrons, but some were purchased from cash revenues. At the outset, the Cistercian Order rejected gifts of Mills and Rents, Churches with Tithes and Feudal Manors, as they did not accord with their belief in Monastic purity, because they involved contact with Laymen.

When Archbishop Thurstan founded the Abbey, in 1132, he gave the Community 260 acres (110 hectares) of land, at Sutton, North of the Abbey, and 200 acres (eighty-one hectares) at Herleshowe, to provide support while the Abbey became established. In the early years, the Abbey struggled to maintain itself, because further gifts were not forthcoming, and Archbishop Thurstan could not help further because the lands he administered were not his own, but part of the Diocesan Estate. After a few years of impoverished struggle to establish the Abbey, the Monks were joined by Hugh, a former Dean of York Minster, a rich man who brought a considerable fortune, as well as furniture and books to start the Library.

Braine le Chateau, Belgium.
The Cistercians made extensive use of water-wheel technology, primarily for milling grain.
Français: Moulin banal in Braine-le-Château, Belgium. Dating from XII century.
Walon: Molén banåve do 12inme sieke, a Brinne-Tchestea.
This File: 14 November 2004.
Source: Own work.
Author: Pierre79.
(Wikimedia Commons)

By 1135, the Monks had acquired only another 260 acres (110 hectares) at Cayton, given by Eustace FitzJohn, of Knaresborough, "for the building of the Abbey". Shortly after the fire of 1146, the Monks had established Granges, at Sutton, Cayton, Cowton Moor, Warsill, Dacre and Aldburgh, all within six miles of Fountains Abbey. In the 1140s, the Water Mill was built on the Abbey site, making it possible for the grain from the Granges to be brought to the Abbey for milling. Tannery waste, from this era, has been excavated on the site.

Further Estates were assembled in two phases, between 1140 and 1160, then 1174 and 1175, from piecemeal acquisitions of land. Some of the lands were grants from benefactors, but others were purchased from gifts of money to the Abbey. Roger de Mowbray granted vast areas of Nidderdale, and William de Percy and his tenants granted substantial Estates in Craven, which included Malham Moor and the Fishery, in Malham Tarn.

After 1203, the Abbots consolidated the Abbey's lands by renting out more distant areas that the Monks could not easily farm, themselves, and exchanging and purchasing lands that complemented their existing Estates. Fountains Abbey's holdings, both in Yorkshire and beyond, had reached their maximum extent by 1265, when they were an efficient and very profitable Estate. Their Estates were linked in a network of individual Granges, which provided staging posts to the most distant ones. They had urban properties in York, Yarm, Grimsby,Scarborough and Boston, from which to conduct export and market trading and their other commercial interests included mining, quarrying, iron-smelting, fishing and milling.

Fountains Abbey, Yorkshire, England.
The Monks' Cellarium (where food was stored).
Photo: 2005.
Source: Own work.
Author: Charlesdrakew.
(Wikimedia Commons)


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