Jervaulx Abbey

Whilst in Yorkshire recently, we visited Easby and Jervaulx Abbeys, reminders of the time when Cistercian monks and abbots were at the heart of medieval life, dominating much of the local economy and providing sustenance and refuge for the poorest.

jervaulx_abbey_2Jervaulx is particularly attractive, as its privately-owned, extensive ruins are not set out quite as clinically as the National Trust norm. They have been designed to be incorporated into a semi-natural garden setting, evoking the romanticism of ruins of the Victorian era. The result is magnificently different in this calm and peaceful setting.

Jervaulx (corruption of ‘Ure Valley’) was one of the great Cistercian Abbeys of the north. Sadly, the last abbot of Jervaulx, Adam Sedbar, was implicated in the ill-fated rebellion of the ‘Pilgrimage of Grace’ against Henry VIII in 1536. Having seen off the rebels, Henry took his revenge, executed Sedbar and ordered the Abbey buildings to be destroyed. All those great gothic arches were undermined and brought down.

When we see such acts of vandalism performed today in the Middle East, we should perhaps remain aware that our own history included similar acts when we were dominated by the despotic mindset of an all-powerful king. Most of today’s humanity has fortunately grown beyond what we regard as a primitive ‘medieval’ mindset.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s