The abbey was founded by St Bernard of Clairvaux, as part of the missionary effort to reform Christianity in western Europe. Just 12 Clairvaux monks came to Rievaulx in 1132. From these modest beginnings grew one of the wealthiest monasteries of medieval England and the first northern Cistercian monastery.
A steady stream of monks came to Rievaulx Abbey, attracted by the prestige of Abbot Aelred, author and preacher, who was regarded then and later as a wise and saintly man. Following his death in 1167, the monks of Rievaulx sought canonisation for their former leader, and in the 1220s they rebuilt the east part of their church in a much more elaborate style to house his tomb.
Rievaulx was still a vibrant community when Henry VIII dissolved it in 1538. Its new owner, Thomas Manners, first Earl of Rutland, swiftly instigated the systematic destruction of the buildings.
1 Apr - 30 Sep: 10am-6pm. All week.
1 - 31 Oct: 10am-5pm. Mon, Thu, Fri, Sat, & Sun.
1 Nov - 31 Mar: 10am-4pm. Mon, Thu, Fri, Sat, & Sun.
Address: Rievaulx | Helmsley, North York Moors National Park
Helmsley lies about 20 miles west of York and is one of England's loveliest market towns. This is really the perfect English town - a large market square with a beautiful church and castle commanding itself over the town.
There are some good quality shops and eating places and it is a pleasant town to spend a few hours in.
Also see the Walled Garden as well as the impressive castle. I have page on Helmsley here on VT.
Buses 31 and 31X leave Exhibition Square through the day and the journey takes 65 minutes.
Rievaulx Abbey is located just outside of the village of Helmsley and about 20 miles from York. The drive from York to the abbey takes in some particularly beautiful scenery (and some great country roads for driving!)
It is a former Cistercian Monastery, founded in 1132, which was home to around 150 monks. Towards the end of the 13th Century it suffered financial problems. By the time of the Disolution of the Monasteries in 1538 there were only 23 monks left. It is a great example of gothic architecture (my favoured architecture).
The Abbey is now owned by English Heritage and admission is somewhere in the region of £3.50 for adults.
Get out of the city and visit Rievaulx Abbey which is at Helmsley.
The ruins of this beautiful abbey lie in the steep woody valley of the river Rye. The abbey was founded in 1132 by the French Cistercian order from Clairvaux. It was their first major monastery in Britain and it lay almost completely surrounded by steep river banks which formed a natural barrier to the outside world. The main buildings were completed before 1200.
This painting is by one of my absolute favourite artists Turner. He always catches the mystery of a place and the wonderful colours of the light.
Rievaulx Abbey is under the care of English Heritage today.
Open all year but closed 24 -26 December.
it is just off the B1257 just 2 miles west of Helmsley