(active 1130s in Yorkshire)

Exterior view

founded 1132
Cistercian Abbey, Rievaulx, 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.

Rievaulx Abbey was founded in 1132 by twelve monks from Clairvaux Abbey as a mission for the colonisation of the north of England and Scotland. It was the first Cistercian abbey in the north. With time it became one of the great Cistercian abbeys of Yorkshire, second only to Fountains Abbey in fame.

The photo shows an exterior view of the remains of the walls and the monastery church.

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