Coverham Abbey

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Coverham Abbey.

Coverham Abbey, North Yorkshire, England, was a Premonstratensian monastery that was founded at Swainby in 1190 by Helewisia, daughter of the Lord Chief Justice Ranulf de Glanville. It was refounded at Coverham in about 1212 by her son Ranulf fitzRalph, who had the body of his late mother reinterred in the chapter house at Coverham.

There is some evidence that the during the first half of the 14th century the abbey and its holdings were attacked by the Scots, with the abbey itself being virtually destroyed. Later in that century there is a record of there being fifteen canons plus the abbot in residence.

The abbey ruins are a Scheduled Ancient Monument[1] and a Grade I listed building.[2]

Dissolution and remains[edit]

The abbey was closed in 1536 - Thomas Wraye, father of Sir Christopher Wray (Chief Justice of the King's Bench 1574-1592) was the last Seneschal of the Abbey. It was sold to Humphrey Orme and quickly became a ruin.

The principal surviving remains include the ruins of the church, and the guesthouse which was incorporated into a house built on the site in 1674. This was replaced in the late 18th century by the current building known as Coverham Abbey House but still retains the surviving monastic features. The original gatehouse partially survives and there are many sculptural remains preserved including several tomb covers some with effigies of knights, from the 14th century.

The site is usually inaccessible to the public but can be glimpsed from the churchyard of Coverham's redundant medieval parish church.



  1. ^ Historic England. "Monument No. 50885". PastScape. Retrieved 20 August 2017. 
  2. ^ Historic England. "Details from image database (321763)". Images of England. Retrieved 20 August 2017. 


  • 'Premonstratensian houses: Abbey of Coverham', A History of the County of York: Volume 3 (1974), pp. 243–45.
  • Anthony New. 'A Guide to the Abbeys of England And Wales', p123-25. Constable.

External links[edit]

Media related to Coverham Abbey at Wikimedia Commons Coordinates: 54°16′24″N 1°50′19″W / 54.2732°N 1.8387°W / 54.2732; -1.8387