Fountains Abbey

Daughter monasteries

1139: Kirkstead 1139: Louth Park 1139: Newminster 1145: Woburn 1146: lysis ( Norway) 1147 Kirkstall 1147: Vaudey 1151: Meaux

Fountains Abbey is a ruined Cistercian monastery in North Yorkshire and is now part of a large park. The monastery was founded in 1132 and existed until 1539, when it was dissolved in the wake of Convent resolutions of Henry VIII. Although in part a ruin, Fountains Abbey is one of the largest and best preserved Cistercian plants in England. After the monastery resolution the ruins were incorporated into the parks of the Studley Royal Water Garden, together they are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


The monastery was founded in 1132 by 13 monks who were excluded after an argument about the orientation of the faith community of St Mary's Abbey in York. The then Archbishop of York, Thurstan, showed them to the site of the later Fountains Abbey. After the construction of the monastery Three years later she joined the Cistercians. The monastery first lived mainly on sheep farming, with the increasing number of lay brothers captured a large share of the resulting work took over, and to a lesser extent practiced other crafts.

In particular, the work of the lay brothers Fountains Abbey was founded in the 13th century to one of the richest monasteries in England. In addition to the sheep now formed also include iron processing and horse breeding important pillars of economic success. In time, it may earn significantly more than the self-catering monastery was actually necessary.

In the 14th century next to an economic crisis the plague, Scottish raids and poor harvests led just like the Community financial mismanagement to the fact that the economic success of the monastery collapsed. Many lay brothers left Fountains Abbey or were awarded to farmers as laborers. Sheep farming was replaced by the 15th century through dairy farming.

Nevertheless, the brothers of Fountains Abbey continued to have great influence within the Cistercian order. The abbots were part of Parliament. Yet during a recent upturn in the Abbey, the monastery was dissolved in 1539, however, in the wake of Convent resolutions of Henry the VIII.

Today's state

The abbey was sold several times along with the surrounding park and restored in the 18th and 19th century, in part. Already in the 19th century Fountains Abbey was a center of attraction for paying visitors. Since 1983, this site is owned by the National Trust, which runs more restoration work on the Abbey and other buildings. With about 300,000 visitors each year is one of the 333 -acre grounds of the Studley Royal Water Garden, which houses the Abbey, the most visited objects of the National Trust. In 1986 the entire plant was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.