(active 1130s in North Yorkshire)

Exterior view

founded 1135
Fountains Abbey, Aldfield, North Yorkshire

While England's cathedrals and Benedictine monastery churches followed the pattern of churches in Normandy, from 1120 the Cistercians introduced the influences of a different French cultural landscape to Britain. By 1160, the reformed order already had fifty-one abbeys in Britain. While the majority of the churches have been destroyed, in most places it is possible to recognize that the churches and monasteries were modeling themselves on Burgundian Romanesque buildings.

During the period of St, Bernard of Clairvaux (d. 1153), five model monasteries were built which formed an ideal (Abbey of Fontenay, Marmagne) that most of the Cistercian buildings in Britain attempted to emulate. Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire (founded in 1135) and Rievaulx Abbey in Yorkshire (founded in 1132) belong to these churches. They have seven rectangular apses, transepts and an aisled nave. They had no towers and very little ornamentation. However, they have survived only as picturesque ruins.

Fountains Abbey is one of the largest and best preserved ruined Cistercian monasteries in England. It is located approximately 3 miles (5 kilometres) south-west of Ripon in North Yorkshire, near to the village of Aldfield. Founded in 1135, the abbey operated for over 400 years, until 1539, when Henry VIII ordered the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

The photo shows an exterior view of the ruins.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.