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A new exhibition trail highlighting one of the world’s most fascinating saints has opened up at Rievaulx Abbey.
Through a series of information panels Friendship, Leadership and Sainthood explores the life and times of Aelred, a 12th century abbot and saint from Rievaulx Abbey who has become an unlikely LGBTQ+ icon. The exhibition trail, which opened in 2021, looks at the twenty years that he spent at the abbey, his sainthood and modern role. An inspirational leader and writer, his influence resonates through the centuries with many of his works, especially those on friendship, still read today by people of all faiths and none.
The exhibition trail, which will be in place until the end of 2022, is free of charge and separate information leaflets are available.The life of Aelred of Rievaulx
Walter Espec, lord of Helmsley, builds temporary timber structures for the first monks sent from Clairvaux in France.
Find out more about the history of Rievaulx Abbey
William, the first abbot, begins work on the first stone buildings.
Aelred becomes the third abbot. He rebuilds and expands William's monastery for the growing community, adding a monumental new church.
Abbot Silvanus rebuilds the south range of the cloister and remodels Abbot William's west range.
The east end of the church is remodelled in spectacular style, probably to house Aelred's shrine.
Find out why Rievaulx Abbey is significant
Rievaulx's buildings are again remodelled to suit changing patterns of religious life.
Rievaulx Abbey is suppressed under Henry VIII and sold to Thomas Manners, 1st Earl of Rutland. The abbey is dismantled.
Rutland develops a substantial ironworks at Rievaulx that continues for about a century.
Under the Duncombe family, Rievaulx becomes a landscape monument that appeals to artists and writers.
The Yorkshire Archaeological and Topographical Association visits with expert guides to look into the history of the site.
The Office of Works take the ruins at Rievaulx into guardianship.
With the presbytery in danger of collapse, immediate repairs begin, despite wartime shortages of labour and materials.
Learn more about Rievaulx Abbey