Fountains Cistercian Abbey; Monastic Precinct, Mill, Water Management Works, Agricultural and Industrial Features and 18th Century Gardens

North Yorkshire

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Tagged With

Cistercian Monastery
Post Medieval

Data Source

English Heritage

County Council

North Yorkshire County Council

District Council

Harrogate Borough Council


Lindrick with Studley Royal and Fountains

Parliamentary Constituency

Skipton and Ripon

Grid Reference

SE275275 (427473, 468221)

WGS84 Coordinates

54.109, -1.57974

Nearest Postcode


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Documented sites of garden features, including a garden house and gazebo, set within Fountains Abbey (Monument HOB UID 51860) and the use of the abbey as a romantic ruin within Studley Royal Park between 1768-72. William Aislabie bought the abbey estate in 1768 so he could incorporate the Abbey ruins within Studley Royal Park (Monument HOB UID 51924) as a romantic ruin within an informal setting of lawns and trees. Prior to this, the ruins provided a vista to be seen from the gardens. It took four years to achieve and involved the selective demolition of parts of the abbey including the removal of the late 12th century cloister arcades, the presbytery arcades, and the tracery from the windows in the church. He also reduced the ground level, used fallen masonry for levelling the surface for lawns, and buried the ruins of the Abbot's house and Infirmary. There was also the addition and construction of new features including a garden house, a gazebo in front of the High Altar, and blocking walls and doors. The High Altar was reconstructed and decorative masonry re-erected. Other additions included the re-erection of the Statue of Anne Bulleyn (Monument HOB UID 1093026) from Surprise View. Another statue, that of Mars, was also erected and fragments of the Arundel Marbles installed. Garden planting also took place within much of the ruins. Aislabie's work was criticised by William Gilpin in 'Tour of the North' which was published in 1772. However, his work has subsequently been recognised as an early example of a managed monument involving the consolidation of the ruin. Most of his additions were removed by John Richard Walbran during his archaeological excavations of the abbey during the 1850s.

English Heritage

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