History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: Fabulous collection of wildflowers adorn the ruins of this 12th century abbey.
Jervaulx was originally based at Fors, a few miles distant, but the land there proved to be poor for farming and the Cistercian monks moved to the current site. They were known for raising horses, and the abbey was the original home of Wensleydale cheese.
The abbey was destroyed during Henry VIII's Dissolution of the Monasteries, and the last abbot of Jervaulx was imprisoned in the Tower of London, where his signature can be seen, carved into the wall of his cell.
The abbey buildings were dismantled, but a large amount of the fabric and furnishings at Jervaulx made their way into parish churches throughout the Yorkshire Dales. Thus you can find a carved screen at Spennithorne, the grave of abbot Robert Thorneton (d. 1533) at Middleham, a gilded rood screen at Aysgarth, and window glass at Bedale church.
Unlike most ruined abbeys in the UK, Jervaulx is privately owned; indeed it is the second-largest medieval monastery in Britain in private hands. It is refreshingly easy to visit the site; only an honesty box awaits visitors at the gate (a note to the owners: I'm an honest fellow - I paid!)
Though the abbey ruins are not as impressive as other monastic sites in Yorkshire such as Rievaulx or Fountains, I think I actually enjoyed Jervaulx more; the location is so peaceful, and there are seldom large numbers of visitors.
My abiding memory of Jervaulx is the beautiful array of wildflowers that seemed to sprout from every nook and cranny of the ruined walls, and cascade over the crumbling stone. If ever a medieval monastery deserved the label 'romantic', it must surely be Jervaulx.
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About Jervaulx Abbey
Address: Park House, Jervaulx, Yorkshire Dales, Yorkshire, England, HG4 4PH
Attraction Type: Abbey
Location: On the A6108 three miles southeast of Middleham. Free parking available.
Website: Jervaulx Abbey
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
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NEARBY HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
Middleham Castle - 2.8 miles (Castle)
Braithwaite Hall - 3.2 miles (Historic Building)
Constable Burton Hall Gardens - 3.4 miles (Garden)
Coverham Abbey - 4 miles (Abbey)
Druid's Temple - 4.3 miles (Historic Building)
Coverham, Holy Trinity Church - 4.5 miles (Historic Church)
Masham, St Mary's Church - 4.7 miles (Historic Church)
Wensley, Holy Trinity Church - 5.4 miles (Historic Church)
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