Helen (minniemoll) wrote,

Rievaulx Abbey

It didn't take me long to decide that I was indeed going to play truant from my desk this morning, especially once I remembered that my English Heritage card would get me into any number of heaps of stones in the area for nothing. So I drove up fifteen miles of windy country lanes to Helmsley, and then about two miles north to Rievaulx Abbey. This was the main Cistercian Abbey in the north of England, and at its peak housed 800 men, although by the time Henry VIII arrived there were only 22 men left, they must have rattled around rather, as it must have been huge when it was complete.

There was a free audio guide, but it was narrated as though by a monk of the later days, which I found both irritating and patronising, as well as hugely uninformative. The information panels only served to show an illustration as to how the area may have looked in its prime, and to tell you which button to press for more monkish thoughts - I think the idea is for you to spend another £4 on the guidebook if you want anything aimed at an intelligence higher than that of a small child. The information centre was similarly child-centred.

But the beauty of the buildings and the surroundings surpassed all this, and the sun shone.

It was a beautiful autumn day, the trees are starting to turn, and it was warm for the end of October.

Very delicate flying buttresses at the far side of the church.

The view across the valley. The monks farmed this land to provide their income.

A corner of a private chapel in the nave of the church.

There were old photographs in the cafe of the church covered in ivy, in the days when there was a farm on the site. Nowadays most of the vegetation has been removed, but odd bits remain.

Sheep, for rosealare.

The end of the Chapter House.

Tags: photos, rievaulx, yorkshire
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