After yesterday’s rather desultory wandering about, we thought a more structured approach was called for today. Yorkshire does things in a big way. When it comes to ruined abbeys it’s difficult to beat and Rievaulx Abbey, near Helmsley, is the daddy of them all…
After breakfast we heard the now familiar toot-toot of an engine and saw clouds of white smoke over the top of the trees in the valley. Peter grabbed the camera and ran down the grassy slope, Jenny Agutter style, determined to catch sight of the train as it made its way down to Pickering. I thought he must have been mad and would never make it in time but he came back triumphant!
On the farm, baling was in progress – quite early Peter thought. Maybe the farmers knew something we didn’t?
We started on our journey to the Abbey, passing by the Fylingdales Early Warning station, which is quite close to the campsite.
Rievaulx is near Helmsley, another pretty market town, bustling with people and cars of course. I think, maybe, we are here at the wrong time of year to really appreciate these attractive Yorkshire towns.
When we got to the Abbey we were relieved to see that the car park wasn’t heaving with cars, however, and even Bessie found a space quite easily. We had a complimentary audio tour each, which we always find easier than trying to follow a printed sheet, and there is an separate indoor exhibition which houses some of the interesting archaeological finds recently discovered on the site and gives some background to the Abbey.
Rievaulx was founded in 1132 by St Bernard of Clairvaux as part of the missionary effort to reform Christianity in western Europe and enjoying the protection of Walter Espec of nearby Helmsley Castle who provided much of the land. The third Abbot there, Aelred, was much revered and was canonised after his death in 1167.
The Abbey was still a vibrant community when Henry VIII disolved it in 1538 and its new owner, Thomas Manners, 1st Earl of Rutland, swiftly instigated destruction of the buildings although, as you can see, there is still a lot to see.
There is an excellent café at this English Heritage site and we enjoyed some huge pieces of cake with our coffee afterwards in the sunshine!
On our journey back to the campsite, one of the few thatched cottages we have seen in this area.
How wonderful to see one of my favourite places – isn’t it just rivetting – the monks sure knew how to pick the perfect place to put their homes. I was amazed at the sewage system they had there. ‘Always collect water upstream, never, never downstream’!! and SO glad you ended up with delicious looking cakes……..
Glad to be of service Margaret! We really enjoyed it and had fab weather too.
What an incredible place the abbey must have been in its full glory before Henry VIII changed its fortunes.
Yes, it’s certainly stunning Sals!
I think the Abbey is used in a television commercial but can’t think which one.
I must look out for it!