Cloisters of Saint John Lateran, Rome. Source:

Monday, 1 September 2014

Fountains Abbey (Part Four).

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)

The Battle of Bannockburn, in 1314, was a factor that led to a downturn in the prosperity of the Abbey in the Early-14th-Century. Areas of the North of England, as far South as York, were looted by the Scots. Then the number of Lay-Brothers, being recruited to the Order, reduced considerably. The Abbey chose to take advantage of the relaxation of the Edict on leasing property, that had been enacted by the General Chapter of the Order in 1208, and leased some of their properties. Other properties were staffed by hired labour and remained in hand under the supervision of bailiffs. In 1535, just before the Dissolution of the Monasteries, Fountains Abbey had an interest in 138 "Vills" [Editor: See Note, which follows] and the total taxable income of the Fountains Abbey Estate was £1,115, making it the richest Cistercian Monastery in England.

[Editor: Note: "Vill" is a term used in English history to describe a land unit which might otherwise be described as a Parish, Manor or Tithing.

The term is used in the period immediately after the Norman Conquest and into the Late-Mediaeval period. Land units in the Domesday Book are frequently referred to as "Vills". The "Vill" is a geographical sub-division of the Hundred, and County.

Traditionally, amongst legal historians, a "Vill" referred to the tract of land of a rural community, whereas 'Township' was referred to when the tax and legal administration of a rural community was meant. An unfree inhabitant of a "Vill" was called a Villein. The word would later develop into Ville (French) and Village (English)].

The Abbey buildings, and over 500 acres (200 hectares) of land were sold by the Crown, on 1 October 1540, to Sir Richard Gresham, the London merchant, father of the founder of the Royal Exchange, Sir Thomas Gresham. Gresham sold some of the fabric of the site, stone, timber, lead, as building materials to help to defray the cost of purchase. The site was acquired in 1597 by Sir Stephen Proctor, who used stone from the Monastic complex to build Fountains Hall.

English: Cluny Abbey, France, where Thurstan (later, Archbishop of York and Founder of Fountains Abbey) visited and vowed to become a Monk at some point in his life.
Français: Clocher de l'eau bénite et clocher de l'horloge de l'abbaye de Cluny.
Photo: 16 July 2005.
Source: Own work.
Author: TL.
(Wikimedia Commons)

Thurstan, or Turstin, of Bayeux (circa 1070 – 6 February 1140) was a Mediaeval Archbishop of York. He served Kings William II and Henry I, of England, before his election to the See of York, in 1114. Once elected, his Consecration was delayed for five years, while he fought attempts by the Archbishop of Canterbury to assert primacy over York. Eventually, he was Consecrated by the Pope, instead, and allowed to return to England. While Archbishop, he secured two new Suffragan Bishops for his Province.

When Henry I died, Thurstan supported Henry's nephew Stephen of Blois as King. Thurstan also defended the Northern part of England from invasion by the Scots, taking a leading part in organising the English forces at the Battle of the Standard (1138). Shortly before his death, Thurstan resigned from his See and took the Habit of a Cluniac Monk.

Between 1627 and 1767, the Estate was owned by the Messenger family, who sold it to William Aislaby, who was responsible for combining it with the Studley Royal Estate. The archaeological excavation of the site was begun under the supervision of John Richard Walbran, a Ripon antiquary, who, in 1846, had published a Paper "On the Necessity of Clearing Out the Conventual Church of Fountains.

In 1966, the Abbey was placed in the guardianship of the Department of the Environment, and the Estate was purchased by the West Riding County Council, who transferred ownership to the North Yorkshire County Council in 1974. The National Trust bought the 674-acre (273 hectares) Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Estate, from North Yorkshire County Council, in 1983.

In 1986, the parkland, in which the Abbey is situated, and the Abbey, was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It was recognised for fulfilling the criteria of being a masterpiece of human creative genius, and an outstanding example of a type of building, or architectural or technological ensemble or landscape, which illustrates significant stages in human history.

English: Cîteaux Abbey, France.
Mother House of the Cistercian Order.
Français: L'abbaye de Cîteaux la bibliothèque du XVIe siècle.
Classée monument historique. Restaurée.
Photo: 14 July 2008.
Source: Own work.
Author: G CHP.
(Wikimedia Commons)

Cîteaux Abbey (French: Abbaye de Cîteaux) is a Roman Catholic Abbey, located in Saint-Nicolas-lès-Cîteaux, South of Dijon, France. Today, it belongs to the Trappists, or Cistercians of the Strict Observance (OCSO). The Cistercian Order takes its name from this Mother House of Cîteaux (previously named "Cisteaux"), near Nuits-Saint-Georges. The Abbey has about 35 Monks.

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, a Monk of Cîteaux Abbey, left it to found Clairvaux Abbey in 1115, of which he was the first Abbot. His influence in the Cistercian Order, and beyond, is of prime importance. He re-affirmed the importance of strict observance to the Rule of Saint Benedict.

Cîteaux Abbey, begun around 1140, was completed in 1193.
The Dukes of Burgundy subsequently used as their dynastic place of burial.

Fountains Abbey is owned by the National Trust and maintained by English Heritage. The Trust owns Studley Royal Park, Fountains Hall, to which there is partial public access, and Saint Mary's Church, designed by William Burges and built around 1873, all of which are significant features of the World Heritage Site.

The Porter's Lodge, which was once the Gatehouse to the Abbey, houses a modern exhibition area with displays about the history of Fountains Abbey and how the Monks lived.

In January 2010, Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal became two of the first National Trust properties to be included in Google Street View, using the Google Trike.

Fountains Abbey was used as a filming location, by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, for their single, Maid of Orleans (The Waltz Joan of Arc), during the cold Winter of December 1981. In 1980, Hollywood also came to the site to film the final scenes to the film Omen III: The Final Conflict. Other productions, filmed on location at the Abbey, are the films The Secret Garden, The History Boys, the TV series "Flambards", A History of Britain, Terry Jones' Medieval Lives, Cathedral and the Game Show"Treasure Hunt".


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