Fountains Abbey; from the Abbot's House
Photographer: Sedgfield, W. Russell
Medium: Photographic print
“No part of England in the palmy days of Romanism could boast more splendid monastic buildings, or can now show more magnificent remains of them, than Yorkshire. Greatly varied in its scenery, this extensive county is traversed by dales and glens, presenting every attraction to that love of seclusion, and yet of stately half religious, half baronial life, which distinguished the sacred orders of the Roman church…Fountains and Rievaux, Jervaux and Byland, and many another name, raise visions of the now shattered grandeur of the monastic ages, that had nothing to outvie it in any country of Europe. Of all these, and of all such superb feats of conventual power and splendour in England, non can equal in extent of ruin, as once in amplitude of estate, the noble pile of Fountains. We are told that after its original period of poverty and distress, a great prosperity flowed in upon the establishment. Many persons of power and opulence purchased, by large donations, a sepulture within the walls of the abbey. Favoured by popes, kings, and prelates, with various immunities and privileges, and enriched by a succession of princely gifts, Fountains Abbey became one of the wealthiest monasteries of the kingdom.”
Excerpt from “Fountains Abbey”, in ‘Ruined Abbeys and Castles of Great Britain’ by William and Mary Howitt.