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Historic England Research Records

Coverham Abbey

Hob Uid: 50885
Location :
North Yorkshire
Richmondshire
Coverham with Agglethorpe
Grid Ref : SE1060086300
Summary : The remains of the Premonstratensian abbey at Coverham, situated on the north bank of the River Cover four miles west of Middleham. The abbey was founded in 1212 by Ranulph Fitz-Robert when it moved from Swainby. By the early 14th century the house was facing near collapse following the loss of lands and income, fire and the consequences of raids by the Scots in 1314-1318. This prompted a phase of rebuilding and by 1350 the abbey had recovered. In 1536 Coverham Abbey was dissolved. The abbeys main buildings lie on a low river terrace. Some of the core buildings survive as upstanding remains, further remains are incorporated into buildings constructed after the dissolution, and other remains will survive below ground. Of the standing remains, the earliest are those of the early 13th century abbey church (Listed Grade I) which was rebuilt in the mid 14th century. The west range of the cloister housing the guest house was rebuilt in the late 15th century, and substantial medieval fabric still survives within the existing Garth Cottage (Listed Grade I). The inner court was defined by a stone wall, of which only the western gatehouse is currently visible. The inner precinct gatehouse, which is Listed Grade I, stands 125 metres to the west of the cloister buildings and dates to the early 16th century. The line of the precinct wall has been identified by analysis of local topography and road patterns, but only one section of the wall is currently visible 100 metres to the north east of the abbey, where the top of the buried remains of the wall are exposed at ground level. Scheduled.
More information : (SE 10608639) Coverham Abbey and remains of

(NAT) Abbey (NR) (Premonstratensian) (NAT)

(SE 10478632) Abbey Gate (NR)

(SE 10718635) Fish Ponds (NR) (1)

The Abbey for Premonstratensian Canons at Coverham was
established between 1197 and 1202 (2) or 1212-13 (3) on being
moved from its original site at Swainby (SE 38 NW 2). In 1331-2
it had apparently been destroyed by the Scots and impoverished,
it was suppressed in 1536. Most of what little remains of the
abbey has been incorporated in later buildings. The only free
standing parts are four portions of the 13th - 14th century
abbey church (see plan). To the southwest is the abbey gatehouse,
circa 1500, consisting of a pair of ashlar arches.

Amongst the later buildings is Abbey House (SE 10598637) an 18th
century stone building containing Medieval carvings in the east
side wall, with an early, 17th century back wing. A 18th or 19th
century curtain wall to the southeast of the house is almost
entirely composed of Medieval carved stonework from the abbey.
Remains of the Abbey Guest house are incorporated in the 16th
century Garth Cottage (SE 10588638). The abbey ruins are grade 1,
the abbey gatehouse, Abbey House and curtain wall are grade 2*
and Garth Cottage is Grade 2. (2-4)

Only part of the north archway to the south aisle is free
standing, all other extant fragments of Coverham Abbey have
incorporated into the modern house, farm or walls. The gate
house is in good condition (see GP from the SW). To the south
and east of the Abbey are the remains of fields and sunken
trackways. A single fish pond, encroached on by farm buildings
in the north and very much weathered down survives at SE
10728636.

Published survey (25") revised. (5)

SE 106 864. Coverham Abbey. Scheduled No NY/2. (6)

Coverham Abbey was visited by English Heritage field investigators in June 1999 during the course of the National SAMs Survey Pilot Project.

The abbey is situated in the valley bottom at the eastern end of Coverdale near where the valley runs into Wensleydale (8). The abbey ruins are situated at the foot of a prominent scarp which drops down from the edge of an ancient river terrace situated above the site on the N and NW. Some of the abbey buildings have been incorporated into later buildings while the remains of the abbey church forms a romantic ruin in a garden. No actual survey took place but the abbey and its environs were perambulated and Monarch records revised or created as appropriate.

The boggy pasture field centered SE 1066 8645, immediately NE of the abbey ruins, is crossed by the remains of a drain. It is oriented approximimately NNW-SSE and still contains flowing water - the latter probably comes from the stream in Cotescue Park which has been culverted under Coverham Lane at SE 1060 8661. In places the roof of the drain has collapsed inwards revealing a structure of dressed stone, capped with flags. The drain may have carried at least some of the water required for the abbey and could also have supplied the former fishpond at SE 1072 8636 (SE 18 NW 35). A spread bank, with stone protruding through its top, is visible a short distance to the east of this drain. It may the remains of the precinct wall and measures 5m to 6m across and 0.7m high on its downslope side. It follows an approximately SE-NW course and towards its north end it appears to start turning towards the west. The area N of the abbey, including the foot and much of the slope of the river terrace scarp, was obscured by seasonal vegetation growth at the time of the visit. The fishpond and other earthworks (S and E of the abbey) referred to by authority 5 (see above) have now been included in the record for SE 18 NW 35. (9)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1956
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : Medieval religious houses in England and Wales
Source details :
Page(s) : 184, 187
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3
Source : The Victoria history of the county of York, North Riding, volume one
Source details :
Page(s) : 215-8
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 4
Source : Yorkshire, the North Riding
Source details :
Page(s) : 125-6
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 5
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : I S Sainsbury/30-OCT-1974/ OS Archaeology Division
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 6
Source : County list of Scheduled Monuments : March 1994
Source details : North Yorkshire
Page(s) : 24
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 7
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : 29-Apr-98
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 8
Source : The archaeology of rural monasteries
Source details : 'Coverham Abbey: its context in the landscape of late medieval North Yorkshire' by Guy Halsall, p113
Page(s) : 112-139
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 203
Source Number : 9
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : C Dunn/17-JUN-1999/RCHME: National SAMs Survey Pilot Project
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Built before late C15
Monument End Date : 1566
Monument Start Date : 1212
Monument Type : Guest House
Evidence : Documentary Evidence, Architectural Component
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Between 1212 and 1536
Monument End Date : 1536
Monument Start Date : 1212
Monument Type : Precinct Wall
Evidence : Documentary Evidence, Structure, Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Early C13 (From 1212)
Monument End Date : 1233
Monument Start Date : 1212
Monument Type : Abbey, Church
Evidence : Documentary Evidence, Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Founded in 1212
Monument End Date : 1212
Monument Start Date : 1212
Monument Type : Premonstratensian Monastery, Abbey
Evidence : Documentary Evidence, Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Rebuilt mid C14
Monument End Date : 1366
Monument Start Date : 1333
Monument Type : Abbey, Church
Evidence : Documentary Evidence, Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Rebuilt late C15
Monument End Date : 1499
Monument Start Date : 1467
Monument Type : Guest House
Evidence : Documentary Evidence, Architectural Component
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Early C16
Monument End Date : 1532
Monument Start Date : 1500
Monument Type : Gatehouse
Evidence : Documentary Evidence, Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Dissolved in 1536
Monument End Date : 1536
Monument Start Date : 1536
Monument Type : Premonstratensian Monastery, Abbey
Evidence : Documentary Evidence, Ruined Building

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : NY 2
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 28228
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 321761
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 321762
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 321765
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SE 18 NW 6
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 50882
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 53859
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1246489
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1245509
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 53870
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 562474
Relationship type :
Associated Monuments : 562476
Relationship type :
Associated Monuments : 50876
Relationship type :
Associated Monuments : 1318235
Relationship type :

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SE 18 NW 6
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1974-10-30
End Date : 1974-10-30
Associated Activities : Primary, COVERHAM ABBEY HOUSE, COVERHAM ABBEY
Activity type : DESK BASED ASSESSMENT
Start Date : 1996-01-01
End Date : 1996-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, RCHME NATIONAL SAMS SURVEY PILOT PROJECT
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1999-01-01
End Date : 1999-06-01
Associated Activities : Primary, LAND AT COVERHAM ABBEY
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 2010-01-01
End Date : 2015-12-31