Rievaulx Abbey: History and Stories
Since its foundation in the 12th century, Rievaulx Abbey has witnessed the heights of monastic renown and the lows of decline and Reformation, only to be reborn as a subject for Romantic art.
Find out more about the story of Rievaulx Abbey through the years and explore new discoveries being brought to light by the latest historical research.
The Abbey through the centuries
History of Rievaulx Abbey
Discover the history of Rievaulx Abbey, from its foundation in 1132 to its 20th-century preservation.
Rievaulx Abbey Collection
Explore a selection of objects that give a unique insight into the workings of the medieval abbey.
A new light on the sacking of the Abbey
English Heritage historian Dr Michael Carter explains the significance of a discovery that illuminates one of the darkest chapters in the abbey’s history.
Learn how Rievaulx Abbey fits into the story of medieval religion, when the church was a pervasive force in the lives of ordinary people, and new monastic orders were established.
Discover how the power of monasteries such as Rievaulx had drastically declined by the Tudor period and how the Reformation changed the religious landscape of England forever.
Buy the Guidebook
Learn more about the history of Rievaulx Abbey with the official guidebook which includes a tour and history of the site, illustrated with full-colour maps, reconstruction drawings and historical images.
Conservation at Rievaulx Abbey
Take a look behind the scenes as Collections Conservator Caroline Rawson explains the conservation work carried out on the historic collections displayed at Rievaulx Abbey's new museum. Discover the tools of the conservator's trade and the methods used to reveal the detail of these delicate objects.
This project was supported by donations from members and visitors. Discover how you could get involved to help preserve historic places across the country.Support conservation
Rievaulx reconstruction: How are interpretation images drawn?
How do you transform the ruins of a building into detailed drawings?
What to grow in a medieval herb garden
Discover the medicinal plants found in monastic herb gardens that you can still grow today.
Rievaulx Reviewed: Celebrating 100 Years in Care
Rievaulx was one of the first sites to come under the guardianship of English Heritage's predecessor - the Office of Works. Discover how it came to symbolise a new attitude towards heritage.
Resources for Researchers
Research on Rievaulx Abbey
Rievaulx Abbey has a long history of antiquarian and archaeological research because of the quality of its surviving remains.
Description of Rievaulx
Discover what the architecture of Rievaulx can tell us about the abbey's many phases of building and development.
Sources for Rievaulx
Use this summary of primary and secondary sources to learn more about Rievaulx Abbey's history.
Why does Rievaulx Matter?
Discover why Rievaulx has been considered both architecturally and historically significant since the 12th century.
Please support today
Donate now to support a project that inspires you or to help our most urgent work take place. You can be part of bringing the stories of England to life and help more people make their own discoveries at our historic places.