Kirkstall Abbey in the rain....



Kirkstall Abbey is a ruined Cistercian monastery in Kirkstall, north-west of Leeds city centre in West Yorkshire, England. It is set in a public park on the north bank of the River Aire. It was founded c.1152. It was disestablished during the Dissolution of the Monasteries under Henry VIII.

The picturesque ruins have been drawn and painted by artists such as J.M.W. Turner, Thomas Girtin and John Sell Cotman.

Kirkstall Abbey was acquired by Leeds Corporation as a gift from Colonel North and opened to the public in the late 19th century. The gatehouse became a museum (LINK)


The last few weeks I have been playing tourist, visiting places close to home. Some I have never been to like York gate gardens and some like the Abbey I have taken the children to pass an hour during the summer holidays.  

So on yet another wet and windy summers day I took myself of to look round Kirkstall Abbey, I had forgotten how big the place was and the construction of such a building from so long ago still surprises me, just looking at the size of this window arch... it's amazing.

I juggled with a large umbrella the rain and the wind, so quite a few photos have rain spots on them.





The abbey is a Grade I listed building and Scheduled Ancient Monument.[7] After a £5.5 million renovation programme there is a new visitor centre with interactive exhibits which illustrates the history of the abbey and the lives of the monks. Entry to the Abbey itself is via the visitor centre – free of charge, but with a donation box. Occasionally, guided tours are available (free of charge).

The Leeds Shakespeare Festival, performed by the British Shakespeare Company, took place annually in the cloisters from 1995 until 2009. The abbey grounds are a public park, and are used for occasional events such as the annual Kirkstall Festival and the Kirkstall Fantasia open-air concerts.

On the other side of the main road, the grade II* listed former abbey gatehouse now forms the Abbey House Museum.


A OS marker can be found on the wall outside the park grounds, this is the third one I have found this week , the others been on church walls.





  
After Kirkstall Abbey was left empty, it soon deteriorated. The lately added tower was not designed with supports and eventually gave way in 1779. It continued in that fashion until 1895, when it was reopened as a public park.






The church as a road.
Within a century of the Abby closing down the main road to Leeds ran straight through the middle of the church.










The night stairs.


The night stairs were used by the choir monks, they came down from their dormitory to attend the first service of the day, at one o' clock in the morning, they were called a further six times throughout the day.


The Chapter House.





click photo to enlarge to read.

The East Range



The Warming House





The visitor centre


Beautiful medieval tiles which the abbey’s Cistercian monks strolled upon centuries ago, and a tiny tuning peg which may have belonged to a visiting medieval minstrel, are among the archaeological discoveries being exhibited




Just over the road from the Abbey is Abbey House Museum.



 Abbey House Museum in Kirkstall, Leeds, West Yorkshire, England is housed in the        gatehouse of the ruined Kirkstall Abbey, and is a Grade II* listed building.


I have not been in here before and its beautiful, coffee and cake ordered and a chance to get warm and dry. I had planed to have a look at the Victorian street, but decided to save that for another day.

In 1927 Abbey House, a Grade II* Listed Building, opened to the public as a museum displaying the history of the people of Leeds. In the mid-1950s the downstairs of Abbey House was transformed with the construction of mock Victorian streets inside – Abbey Fold, Harewood Square and Stephen Harding Gate. These had faithful recreations of houses, shops, a church and a pub inside showing what life in Leeds would have been like in the 1880s. Above, in the first floor are collections of more aspects of Victorian Leeds, including Victorian toys, clothes and furniture.




 The Norman Hall

..it was at these gates that Henrty VIII'S commissioners arived on 22nd November 1539 to demand the surrender of the Abbey and all its property into their hands.


According to tradition the former abbot, John Ripley, retired to live int he gatehouse, blocking each end with windows removed from the abbey. A stone coffin containing a skeleton, a silver spoon and a silver farthing of Edward I (1272-1307) was discovered under the floor of this room in the 19th century.






         Book shop in the Abby House




Other places I have visited this past week; 
(click.... to get the link).

ALL SAINTS CHURCH, HAREWOOD


Links;

Wikipedia page Kirkstall Abbey


Comments

  1. Such an interesting post Amanda and the photos are superb - your camera coped well with the rain and low light :) The Abbey is so impressive - it never ceases to amaze me the beauty and standard of the architecture and stone work from buildings that are so very old.

    Its great that there is a visitor centre and all those information boards as you walk round. Love those medieval tiles :) And even better tea and cake and a bookshop :) Thanks so much for the tour - I feel as though I had been there with you :)

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    1. Thanks RR, for the lovely comment I was pleased with the photos when I got home, not the best fun in the rain but still glad I went. The architecture here is stunning and so many windows, must have been very cold in winter. Yet again I have been impressed with the amount of information on offer as you walk round.
      Amanda xx

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  2. Such a beautiful place. I could walk the old Abbey for hours. Mysterious and magical.........all those that have gone before us. The architecture is stunning as are your photographs.

    Wonderful post...........

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    1. Thanks Cheryl for leaving a comment and I hope you are well, to be able to go back in time and see how life was, think I would be soon back... very hard. Glad you liked the post and photos.
      Amanda xx

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  3. The Abbey looks splendidl in the rain. and your photos are wonderful. I love the floor tiles. We have a local Abbey at Croxden where the local road runs through the middle of the ruin. The museum looks fascinating it must have been nice to get inside away from the rain and e, cake and books are always a bonus and a wonderful combination:)

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    1. Thanks Rosie, I liked the floor tiles too, don't remember them when I have visited before. The building must have been a splendid sight when it was first built.
      Loved the cafe, so pleased I went in...
      Amanda xx

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  4. What a interesting place to visit and go walking!

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    1. Thanks Amy, it's such a interesting place and on a sunny day you can take a walk along the river, or there is a little train that takes you into Leeds.
      Amanda xx

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  5. Now that is stunning architecture.
    Love all of your photo's, and I enjoyed my tour ... thank you.

    All the best Jan

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    1. Thanks Jan for the lovely comment, I am enjoying visiting all these places on my own door step.
      Amanda xx

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  6. What a fantastic place to explore, an impressive abbey.

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    1. Thanks Louise, they make the most of the place holding concerts, music, farmers markets and at Christmas they have a "secret Christmas" its a very popular place...
      Amanda xx

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  7. It's a lovely place isn't it, the photos in the rain are fantastic! We try and take a walk down the riverside too when we go and i've heard it's good for owls but I think it would be quite spooky at night! x

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    1. Thanks Pam, would like to go to one of the events they have here, it always seems very popular. To wet to walk along the river on this occasion, a great place for a day out.
      Amanda xx

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    2. They do, we've been to the Kirkstall festival and my parents go to the deli markets and have been to a couple of the opera concerts. My Sister in Laws sister is the local Councillor for the area :) xx

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    3. Thanks Pam, as you know its a lovely place to be..
      Amanda xx

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  8. What is an OS marker? Thank you.

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    1. Thanks Annie for leaving a comment and reading about Kirkstall Abbey..

      Ordnance Survey Benchmarks

      Benchmark locator. Ordnance Survey Bench marks (BMs) are survey marks made by Ordnance Survey to record height above Ordnance Datum. If the exact height of one BM is known, the exact height of the next can be found by measuring the difference in heights, through a process of spirit levelling.
      Hope this helps..
      Amanda xx

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  9. Glorious! I love old abbeys and your photos as always do it tremendous justice. It looks like a fascinating place to visit. X

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    1. Thanks CT, for the lovely comment. We have got so use to living next to the Abbey you forget what a great place it is...
      Amanda xx

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