Tag Archives: Kirkstall

Cistercian architecture a joy to behold: Kirkstall Abbey, Leeds


Folks, I have been a bad, bad, blogger: not posting much lately, I know.

I offer in my defense the following proof that I have been using my time wisely and productively, on a two-week visit to England that my wife Sharon and I are now halfway through.

Yesterday, we had the pleasure of visiting an old and surprisingly mostly intact Cistercian Abbey here in Leeds (where I have been attending sessions at the International Medieval Congress and Sharon has been taking day trips to Thirsk–home base of the late lamented James Herriott–and medieval York).

The Abbey is called Kirkstall, founded in 1152, and you can get a small taste of how amazing it is from the following images. They reveal buildings largely unchanged from their first construction in the 1150s, though some sections are “late” (i.e. later 12th or 13th c.) and there are minor Victorian and later restorations of a few sections damaged in the vicissitudes of subsequent centuries.You’ll get a sense of why the 19th-century romantics flipped over this place, painting it repeatedly (sez Wikipedia: “The picturesque ruins have been drawn and painted by artists such as J.M.W. Turner, Thomas Girtin and John Sell Cotman.”)

Here are a few more of the 150+ pix I took while there: Continue reading