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Fountains Abbey, with Ancillary Buildings, Lindrick with Studley Royal and Fountains

Description: Fountains Abbey, with Ancillary Buildings

Grade: I
Date Listed: 11 June 1986
English Heritage Building ID: 331040

OS Grid Reference: SE2748768285
OS Grid Coordinates: 427487, 468285
Latitude/Longitude: 54.1097, -1.5811

Location: Royal, North Yorkshire HG4 3DZ

Locality: Lindrick with Studley Royal and Fountains
Local Authority: Harrogate Borough Council
County: North Yorkshire
Country: England
Postcode: HG4 3DZ

Incorrect location/postcode? Submit a correction!

There is also a scheduled monument, Fountains Cistercian Abbey; Monastic Precinct, Mill, Water Management Works, Agricultural and Industrial Features and 18th Century Gardens, at the same location as this building or very close to it. This may be related in some way or possibly a different name for the same structure.

Listing Text

ROYAL AND FOUNTAINS (east side, off)

9/38 Fountains Abbey, with
ancillary buildings


Abbey Church, with precinct buildings, river walling and 2 bridges. Founded
1132, main building phases 1170-1247 and late C15 - early C16, by monks of
the Cistercian Order. Freestone, with a dark fossiliferous limestone known
as Nidderdale marble, and magnesian limestone. Abbey Church: west Galilee
Chapel, nave with north and south aisles, choir, transepts, north tower,
presbytery and Chapel of the Nine Altars to east. Cloister south of nave:
has on east side Chapter House, with monks dormitory to first floor; west
side - a storehouse and lay brothers refectory, their dormitory above;
south side - monks refectory flanked by warming house and kitchen.
Buildings to south-east of the cloister include the Abbots house and the
monks infirmary with its service buildings. To south-west, the lay
brothers' reredorter and infirmary. The 2 infirmaries stand over tunnels
carrying the canalised River Skell. The infirmary bridge crosses the river
between the lay brothers' infirmary and the East and West Guest-houses. The
mill bridge is further upstream linking the outer court with the Abbey Mill
(qv). Built in Romanesque and Early English style, Fountains is the best
preserved of English abbeys and is the finest picturesque ruin. Among the
architectural splendours are: the deeply-recessed elaborately-moulded,
round-arched west door to the church and other late C12 doorways; the
trefoil-headed recesses, now without attached columns, which line the nave
and the chapel of the Nine Altars; Bishop Huby's Tower (1526), 55 metres
high, of 5 stages with deeply-moulded plinth, massive angle buttresses,
windows with varied heads, embattled parapet and decorated with inscriptions
and statues in niches; the 3 elaborately-moulded arches of the Chapter
House, which was one of the largest in the country; the central line of
piers in the west cloister range from which ribs spring without capitals and
which, with 22 double bays,is the largest building of its kind in Europe;
the 2 warming house fireplaces with flat joggled arches; the guest houses,
each with 2 floors of hall, chamber and privy and with early circular
chimney stacks; and finally the late C12 bridge with 3 ribbed arches and
triangular cutwaters, another rare survival. Fountains Abbey developed. as
one of the most powerful religious houses in Yorkshire and the richest of
its order in England. In November 1539 it surrendered to the King and
eventually, in 1597 it passed to Stephen Proctor who built Fountains Hall
(qv) c1611, probably using the stone from the monks infirmary for the
purpose. The ruins passed through several hands until 1768 when they were
sold to William Aislabie of Studley Royal, uniting the most ambitious garden
scheme in the north of England with the most decorative of ruins. William
Aislabie was responsible for 'tidying' the east end of the church, and
building structures among the ruins, including a viewing platform in the
east window (Walker). Ownership has since passed through the West Riding
and North Yorkshire County Councils to the National Trust. The ruins are a
Scheduled Ancient Monument. R Gilyard-Beer, Fountains Abbey, 1970.
N Pevsner, Yorkshire, York and The West Riding, 1977 pp 203-215. W St John
Hope, Fountains Abbey, Yorkshire, 1900. W T C Walker, personal

Listing NGR: SE2749468282

This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.

Source: English Heritage

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.