This pic show Angela and Gus, dwarfed by the ruins of Rievaulx.
Some of the ideas used in planning the structure of the church, the part of the monastic complex you see in my photos, came from the European travels of Aelred, one of Rievaulx's most prominent abbots. Travel in those days was not by air or rail! Contrast Aelred with the people you know today who've never set foot outside the county in which they were born!
The Presbytery. Altar.
A dozen or so of the 'white monks,' so named for the color of habit they wore, moved to northern England from France, for the purpose of spreading the Gospel to northern England and Scotland. They built on the thousand acres donated to the order by the lord of Helmsley Castle (the town of nearby Helmsley is a subject for another post), and by the mid 1100s at its peak, there were as many as 650 men living at Rievaulx.
Their economic business was raising sheep and selling wool, so the monastery was greatly impacted when disease decimated the flock. But the ultimate threat to the monastery was Henry VIII, when he separated from the Catholic Church, declared himself head of the Church of England, and began the dissolution of the monasteries.
Rievaulx, just before sheets of rain came wafting across the valley.
Another shot of the Presbytery.
All of these photos were taken by me, although if you did a Google image search, you would find many similar photos for Rievaulx. I guess we're all impressed by the same things.
Having read Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose, it's hard not to picture a monastery without at least one monk who's up to no good.