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The Cistercians in Yorkshire title graphic

The Cistercians in Britain


Rievaulx abbey from the air
© Dave MacLeod
<click to enlarge>
Rievaulx abbey from the air

Only the Cistercians of the new religious orders that emerged in twelfth-century Europe made a substantial and long-lasting impact on Britain. A total of eighty-six Cistercian abbeys were founded in Britain spread over the whole of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. But it was in Yorkshire that the Order first took hold in this country. The eight houses founded in this county between 1131 and 1150 were the seeds from which the Cistercian Order grew rapidly in the second half of the twelfth century. The White Monks had a profound impact on all aspects of British medieval life; the remains of their buildings are among the most important Cistercian ruins in Europe and witness to their long-lasting significance for the culture of this island.