Jervaulx Abbey ruins
|Mother house||Byland Abbey|
|Dedicated to||St Mary|
|Controlled churches||Aysgarth, Ainderby Steeple, East Witton, and West Witton|
|Founder(s)||Akarius fitz Bardolph|
|Location||East Witton, North Yorkshire, England|
|Public access||Yes. Privately owned.|
Jervaulx Abbey in East Witton near the city of Ripon, was one of the great Cistercian abbeys of Yorkshire, England, founded in 1156. Initially a Savigniac foundation, the abbey was later taken over by the Cistercian order and responsibility for it was taken by Byland Abbey. Originally founded in 1145 at Fors in Wensleydale, it was moved ten years later to a site a few miles away on the banks of the River Ure. It was dissolved in 1537, and its last abbot Adam Sedbar was hanged for his part in the Pilgrimage of Grace. The ruins of the abbey are open to the public and are privately owned.
In 1145, in the reign of King Stephen, Akarius Fitz Bardolph who was Lord of Ravensworth, gave Peter de Quinciano, a monk from Savigny, land at Fors and Worton, in Wensleydale to build a monastery of their order. The monastery there was successively called the Abbey of Fors, Wensleydale and Charity. Grange, 5 miles WNW of Aysgarth, a hamlet in the township of Low Abbotside, in the parish of Aysgarth is the original site of Fors Abbey. After it was abandoned it was known by the name of Dale Grange and now by that of the Grange alone. Serlo, then Abbot of Savigny, disapproved of the foundation, as it had been made without his knowledge and consent. He refused to supply it with monks from his abbey because of the great difficulties experienced by those he had previously sent into England. He therefore, in a general chapter, proposed that it should be transferred to the Abbey of Belland (Byland) which was closer and would be able to lend the necessary assistance required by the new foundation. Monks were sent from Byland and after undergoing great hardships because of the meagreness of their endowment and sterility of their lands, Conan, son to Alan, 1st Earl of Richmond, greatly increased their revenues and, in 1156, removed their monastery to a better location in East Witton, the present situation. Here the monks erected a new church and monastery, which, like most of the Cistercian order, was dedicated to St Mary. At the height of its prosperity the abbey owned half of the valley and was renowned for breeding horses, a tradition that remains in the area to the present day. It was also the original home of Wensleydale cheese. In 1279 Abbot Philip of Jervaulx was murdered by one of his monks. His successor, Abbot Thomas, was initially accused of the crime, but a jury later determined that he was not to blame. According to John Speed, at the dissolution it was valued at £455 10s. 5d. The last abbot, Adam Sedbergh, joined the Pilgrimage of Grace, and suffered death by hanging at Tyburn in June 1537, when the monastic property was forfeited to the king.
The standing remains of the abbey include part of the church and claustral buildings, as well as a watermill; the pulpitum screen with part of the stalls can now be seen in Aysgarth Church. The lordship of East Witton, with the site of the abbey, was granted by Henry VIII to Matthew Stuart, 4th Earl of Lennox, and Margaret, his wife, the king's niece, and after passing through various hands, the property came into the possession of the Bruce family, one of whom was created Earl of Ailesbury in 1805. The estate was purchased from the trustees of Ernest Brudenell-Bruce, 3rd Marquess of Ailesbury, in 1887, by S. Cunliffe Lister, Esq. of Swinton Park, for £310,000. It was purchased by its present owners in 1971.
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- ]]Eilert Ekwall, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-names, p.268.
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- "Isle of Albion: Jervaulx Abbey Picture Gallery". www.isleofalbion.co.uk. Retrieved 2009-06-24.
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- "Yorkshire history Abbeys". www.yorkshirehistory.com. Retrieved 2009-06-23.
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