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RIEVAULX ABBEY

Rievaulx, Helmsley,
North Yorkshire
YO11 1HY
t: 01439 798228
e: rievaulx.abbey@english-heritage.org.uk
w: www.english-heritage.org.uk/rievaulxabbey

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.


  • Imagine life at the abbey with a look at objects in the Rievaulx Abbey Collection – including chess pieces made from bone and jet and a ‘Monk’s scourge’, tipped with wire balls and used for self-penance.
  • NEW From May 2016 visitors will benefit from extensive renovations, such as a re-presentation of the visitor centre and museum which sheds light on the unique story of Rievaulx and the remarkable people who founded and developed the abbey.
  • Listen to the audio tour and discover 900 years of Rievaulx’s history.

ITINERARY IDEA
Incorporate a visit to Byland Abbey, only 20 minutes away, as part of your trip.