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Friday, May 22, 2015

Kirkstall Abbey

Leeds is a city rich in history. The Royal Armouries Museum hosts the national collection of arms and armour taking the visitor back in time through the history of conflict and war, which some would argue, is the history of humanity itself.

Kirkstall Abbey, Leeds.

The National Coal Mining Museum reveals the history of this once vital British industry that provided the fuel to power the nation's once great manufacturing.

The most impressive medieval structure in Leeds is the beautiful Kirkstall Abbey, founded by Cistercian monks from Fountains Abbey in North Yorkshire, and one of the best-preserved medieval abbeys in Britain.

Kirkstall Abbey, Leeds, UK.


Kirkstall Abbey was built between 1152 and 1182, many of its buildings still survive virtually intact up to eaves level. Dissolved by Henry VIII in 1539, the buildings gradually began to fall into disrepair but attracted artists such as J. M. W. Turner who came to paint the romantic ruins.

Across the road from the abbey, the Abbey House Museum, once the abbey's gate house, contains meticulously reconstructed shops and houses that evoke Victorian Leeds, and displays that give an interesting insight into monastic life.

The ruins were also the perfect back drop for outdoor performances every summer at the Shakespeare Festival which ran from 1995 until 2009.

Kirkstall Abbey, Leeds, UK.


Other Cistercian monasteries in Britain include the ruins at Fountains, Netley, Rievaulx and Tintern.

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