Women, hawks and dogs, except those ready barkers used to drive
thieves from houses, do not enter the gates of the monastery.(1)
[Walter Daniel, Life of Aelred.]
A John Surdeval of Beadlam
granted the monks of Rievaulx his territorial rights in Nawton (of one
carucate of land) and stipulated that these revenues should be used for
distributing alms at the gatehouse.
[Rievaulx Cartulary no. 355 (p. 249); cited Burton ‘The estates and
economy of Rievaulx’, p. 67].
The entrance to the abbey precinct
was via a great gatehouse that stood to the NE of the monastery;
by the sixteenth century this had
a slated roof. A second gatehouse controlled access to the inner
court and it was here that the porter officiated
between Lauds and Compline each
day receiving visitors and administering alms.
A gatehouse chapel
stood between these two gates. Here visitors were blessed,
prayed and edified. It was probably here that Aelred,
Espec and their companions were met by the prior, porter
and guestmaster of Rievaulx when the party visited the abbey
1134. Aelred, we
are told, was so moved by the power of their preaching that
he decided to enter the Cistercian life.(2) The
chapel is now used as the parish
church; the main walls and one window are original.
now survives of the inner gatehouse at Rievaulx, which was,
at least in the later Middle Ages, a two-storey building.(3) It
probably comprised of two parts: a two-bay gateway on the
a single-bay gatehall on the south, allowing access to the
and outer courts. Similar gatehouses remain at Kirkstall and Furness. (4)