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Historic England Research Records

Rievaulx Abbey

Hob Uid: 57047
Location :
North Yorkshire
Ryedale
Rievaulx, Old Byland and Scawton
Grid Ref : SE5768085010
Summary : Rievaulx Abbey was founded in 1131 by Walter Espec. Because of the site's topography the church and the rest of the abbey was orientated north-south. It was intended to be a Cistercian mission centre from which Cistercian colonies were sent out to found daughter houses throughout the north of England and Scotland. The abbey underwent expansion from 1145-65, with further building in the late 12th century (for example in the refectory area). It reached the peak of its power circa 1200, but costly building programmes in the first half of the 13th century (for example the addition of the presbytery) left the abbey heavily in debt. There is also evidence that the economic production of the Abbey, which was heavily dependant on wool production, suffered in the late 13th century, partly due to epidemics amongst the estate's flocks of sheep. Some further smaller alterations including the sacristy were made in the 14th century, but in the 15th century parts of the abbey were demolished, indicating that it had declined in numbers as well as wealth. By 1538 when the abbey was surpressed during the Reformation, there were only 22-23 monks and just over 100 lay people, whereas there had been 140 monks and over 500 lay brothers during St Aelred's charasmatic abbacy in the 1160s. Extensive ruins and earthworks remain including: the inner and outer precincts, water-management works, agricultural features, enclosures and ancillary buildings. The abbey and monastic precinct were mapped as part of the North York Moors NMP. Other features associated with the site were recorded separately as child monuments. The features are extant on the latest 2009 vertical photography. This site is an English Heritage Property.
More information : (SE 57688501) Remains of (NAT) Rievaulx Abbey. (Cistercian) (NR) AD 1131 (NAT). (1)

An abbey of Cistercian monks founded AD 1131: dissolved AD 1538. (See pamphlet). (2-3)

As described, and illustrated in attached booklet. Resurveyed at 1:2500. Canal revised at 1:2500. (4)

Rievaulx Abbey grade 1. Abbey Church and monastic buildings, now ruinous. C12, C13, C14, C15. Sandstone and limestone. (6)

Rievaulx Abbey was founded in 1131 by Walter Espec. Because of the site's topography the church and the rest of the abbey is orientated north - south. It was intended to be a Cistercian mission centre from which Cistercian colonies were sent out to found daughter houses throughout the north of England and Scotland. It reached the peak of its power c1200, but costly building programmes from c1200 and 1230 left the abbey heavily in debt. In the 15th century parts of the abbey were demolished indicating that it had declined in numbers as well as wealth. When the abbey was surpressed in 1538 there were only 22 monks where there had been 140 monks and over 500 lay brothers during St Ailred's abbacy. Scheduled. (7)

SE 5754 8497. Rievaulx Abbey Cistercian monastery: inner and outer precinct, water-management works, agricultural features, enclosures and ancillary buildings. Scheduled RSM Number 13282. (8)

Additional material on the architecture and monastic community of Rievaulx. (9-13)

Scheduled, RSM Number 13282. (14)

English Heritage Conservation plan. (15)

Source 16 is a specialist report on the pottery found at the abbey published in the Yorkshire Archaeological Journal. (16)

Source 17 is a journal article examining the Rievaulx Abbey at the time of the dissolution. (17)

Source 18 is the English Heritage Guidebook published in 2006. The source includes an illustrated tour of the abbey and is illustrated with maps, reconstruction drawings and historical images. It charts the development of the Abbey and its decline: the phase plans and descriptions showing the initial phase of building between 1132-45, with a major expansion 1145-65 under the charasmatic abbott Aelred, alterations in the 13th century (including the refectory) , the first half of the 13th century, including the presbytery, smaller alterations in the 14th century (for example the sacristy) and other alterations and contraction in the 15th century up to the dissolution. The guide gives an overview of monastic life at the abbey. There are also features on the economic life of the abbey and its estates, in particular looking at the wool industry and the economic down turn of the last quarter of the 13th century, partly due to outbreaks of murrain amongst their sheep. The guide includes sections on the post-dissolution use of the site and as a monument. (18)

The abbey and elements of the monastic precinct, including boundary banks and possible mound, were mapped as part of the North York Moors NMP. The features are visible as ruined buildings and earthworks, centred at SE 5768 8500. Other features associated with the site, such as water management features, were recorded separately as child monuments. The features are extant on the latest 2009 vertical photography.
(19)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1914
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Source Number : 2
Source : Medieval religious houses in England and Wales
Source details :
Page(s) : 114-124
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Source Number : 11
Source : Rievaulx Abbey, Yorkshire
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Source Number : 12
Source : Rievaulx Abbey, Yorkshire
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Source Number : 13
Source : Rievaulx Abbey [guide]
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Source Number : 14
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : Schedule amendment 2000
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Source Number : 15
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Rievaulx Abbey, North Yorkshire: Consevation Plan. 2001. English Heritage (2 volumes)
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Source Number : 16
Source : Pottery from Rievaulx Abbey
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Vol(s) : Vol 60
Source Number : 17
Source : Some descriptions of Rievaulx Abbey in 1538-9: the disposition of a major Cistercian precinct in the early 16th century
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Source Number : 18
Source : Rievaulx Abbey
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Source Number : 19
Source : Oblique aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR SE 5785/39 NMR 17695/29 13-MAR-2002
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Source Number : 3
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : DOE Official Guidebook 1967 (Sir Charles Peers)
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Source Number : 4
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 ISS 17-JUL-74
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Source Number : 5
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : (Prov List) Helmsley Rural District, Yorkshire North Ridding, DEC-1948
Page(s) : 15
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Source Number : 6
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : Rydale, 18-MAR-1985
Page(s) : 58
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Vol(s) : 336
Source Number : 7
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : EH SAM record JUL-1993
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Source Number : 8
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : 04-Jun-92
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Source Number : 9
Source : Rievaulx Abbey: community, architecture and memory
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Source Number : 10
Source : Rievaulx Abbey, Yorkshire
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Initial building phase 1132-1145
Monument End Date : 1540
Monument Start Date : 1066
Monument Type : Cistercian Monastery, Abbey, Church
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Expanded 1145-1165
Monument End Date : 1540
Monument Start Date : 1066
Monument Type : Cistercian Monastery, Abbey, Church
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Founded 1131
Monument End Date : 1538
Monument Start Date : 1131
Monument Type : Cistercian Monastery, Abbey, Church, Cloister, Kitchen, Dormitory, Privy House, Monastic Dwelling, Refectory, Granary, Infirmary, Gatehouse, Bakehouse, Brewhouse, Conduit House, Tannery, Lime Kiln, Fulling Mill, Blacksmiths Workshop, Corn Mill, Monastic Precinct, Structure, Watercourse, Mill Pond, Boundary Bank, Earthwork
Evidence : Ruined Building, Demolished Building, Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Altered first half of C13
Monument End Date : 1350
Monument Start Date : 1201
Monument Type : Cistercian Monastery, Abbey, Church
Evidence :
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Altered C14
Monument End Date : 1400
Monument Start Date : 1301
Monument Type : Cistercian Monastery, Abbey, Church, Sacristy
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Contraction and alteration C15 to 1538
Monument End Date : 1538
Monument Start Date : 1401
Monument Type : Cistercian Monastery, Abbey, Church
Evidence : Ruined Building

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 13282
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : NY 22
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 328337
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : EH Property Number
External Cross Reference Number : 381
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (N Yorks Moors National Park)
External Cross Reference Number : 1266
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Unified Designation System UID
External Cross Reference Number : 1175724
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Unified Designation System UID
External Cross Reference Number : 1012065
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SE 58 NE 6
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 27498
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 55538
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 55708
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 57556
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 529025
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1106416
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 27360
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 58841
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 58654
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 57206
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 57066
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 57200
Relationship type :
Associated Monuments : 1529859
Relationship type :
Associated Monuments : 1529861
Relationship type :
Associated Monuments : 1529884
Relationship type :

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, RIEVAULX ABBEY
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1957-01-01
End Date : 1960-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SE 58 NE 6
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1974-07-17
End Date : 1974-07-17
Associated Activities : Primary, RIEVAULX ABBEY
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1977-01-01
End Date : 1977-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, RIEVAULX FURNACE, RIEVAULX ABBEY
Activity type : GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY
Start Date : 1996-01-01
End Date : 1996-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, RIEVAULX ABBEY
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1996-01-01
End Date : 1998-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, RIEVAULX ABBEY AND VILLAGE
Activity type : GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY
Start Date : 1997-01-01
End Date : 1997-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, RIEVAULX ABBEY
Activity type : ARCHITECTURAL SURVEY
Start Date : 1999-01-01
End Date : 1999-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, RIEVAULX ABBEY
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1999-01-01
End Date : 1999-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, LAND AT RIEVAULX ABBEY
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 1999-01-01
End Date : 1999-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, RIEVAULX ABBEY, DISABLED ACCESS PATH
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2000-01-01
End Date : 2000-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, LAND AT RIEVAULX ABBEY
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2001-01-01
End Date : 2001-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, RIEVAULX ABBEY MUSEUM: SENSORY GARDEN
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 2005-01-01
End Date : 2005-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, RIEVAULX ABBEY CAR PARK
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2008-01-01
End Date : 2008-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, ENGLISH HERITAGE: NORTH YORK MOORS NATIONAL PARK NMP
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 2010-06-01
End Date : 2011-05-01
Associated Activities : Primary, THE PRECINCT, RIEVAULX ABBEY
Activity type : FIELD SURVEY
Start Date : 2015-01-01
End Date : 2018-12-31