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Twelve Clairvaux monks came to Rievaulx in 1132 and it’s been attracting groups ever since. From modest beginnings grew one of the wealthiest monasteries of medieval England and the first northern Cistercian abbey. At its peak in the 1160s it housed a 650-strong community, under the revered biblical scholar Abbot Aelred. The monastery was suppressed in 1538 but the abbey’s ironworks continued to be used into the 17th century. Later incorporated into the parkland of Duncombe Park in the 1750s, the spectacular abbey ruins became popular with Romantic artists in the 18th and 19th centuries, for example JMW Turner.
Incorporate a visit to Byland Abbey, only 20 minutes away, as part of your trip.