By Linda Lee
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Extra resources for Abbeys & Priories of Great Britain - Volume One
However, across the 15 acre site many of the surviving structures stand to a reasonable height, and virtually the entire claustral range can be identified at foundation level. One of the most impressive architectural treasures to remain standing to almost full height is the monks’ refectory. 5m) long and an amazing 50ft (15m) high, was supported by an undercroft built into the terraced ground. Much of the arcading, and several of the gracefully arched lancet windows have survived to give a clear indication of the former glory of this communal hall.
During the early years of activity the abbey was said to F 63 have supported some 150 monks and upwards of 500 lay brethren. By the end of the fourteenth century these numbers had dwindled drastically, and the community at that time comprised just 15 monks and three lay brothers. There was a brief revival at the end of the fifteenth century, and when the Abbot surrendered the monastery in 1538 there were 21 monks remaining. lthough the early thirteenth century church, reputed to have been one of the finest monastic churches in the North, remains substantially intact today, less than half of the abbey’s outbuildings recorded at the time of the suppression are still in existence.
The abbot’s lodging was saved, becoming a mansion house in the 1540s for Henry Cooke who had acquired the site following the Dissolution. However, it was subsequently levelled for building materials, and sold on. Some of the abbey’s treasures were recovered during a later excavation of the site, and these have been dispersed among local museums. ith such fragmentary remains, the site today resembles little more than an outline of foundations in a parkland setting. This has been achieved mainly as a result of some reconstruction of the foundation stones, following two major excavations in the first half of the twentieth century.
Abbeys & Priories of Great Britain - Volume One by Linda Lee
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