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The Abbey


  • 1132 Archbishop Thurston helps 13 monks from York to start a new abbey
  • 1170 The abbey is well established with c.60 monks and 200 laybrothers
  • 1230 Wool sales increase the abbey's wealth
  • 1300 Sheep disease and poor harvests lead the abbey into debt
  • 1314 Hungry Scots raid the abbey and its farms
  • 1350 The Black Death claims many lives
  • 1381 Only 34 monks remain at Fountains Abbey
  • 1480s Abbot Darnton repairs and rebuild the Abbey Church
  • 1500 Abbot Huby builds the great tower
  • 1539 The Abbey is surrendered to Henry VIII. All the monks leave.

See the abbey through an artist's eye

The Abbey is popular with artists young and old

The Abbey is popular with artists young and old

Step back in time and imagine what life would have been like for the monks who first came here all those years ago.

The dramatic abbey ruins at Fountains are the largest monastic ruins in the country. The abbey was founded in 1132 by 13 Benedictine monks from St Mary’s in York seeking to live a devout and simple lifestyle.