Fountains Abbey stands in the Skell valley in Yorkshire. Now part of a World Heritage site, its story began in 1132 when 13 monks broke away from St Mary's Benedictine Abbey in York wanting to return to the simple life and teachings of St Benedict. Given land by the Archbishop of York in the valley of Skell they settled down to a life of prayer. However they could not survive on prayer alone and begged for financial assistance from Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux in France. Bernard was keen to have a Cistercian Abbey at Fountains so with the help of a wealthy, former Dean of York Minster the building of Fountains Abbey began in 1135. This is a view of the Abbey taken from the Porter's Lodge. The porter (a monk) would make sure that only male guests and those with legitimate business would be able to pass through.
I was both surprised and impressed at the size of the ruins. I didn't realise the Abbey is the largest monastic ruins in the UK.
Looking down the South aisle.
The Cellarium where the Abbey's food was stored.