Yorkshire, England - Coxwold, Byland Abbey and Helmsley Castle

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It was only a few miles from our cottage to Coxwold and nearby Byland AbbeyHelmsley, which we visited later, was another ten miles or so, on the tiny back roads. 

Coxwold has a church with Norman roots - built in the early 1200s - and in great condition.  We had a constant light rain today, not a problem at all.        

note - you can enlarge any part of a picture by left-clicking in and then out again.

tiny village of Coxwold some sort of scenic village award Norman church berry-laden cotoneaster again  
  view of the graveyard usually open still in use the Fauconberg record
  old town hall the pub at Coxwold we visited before it was open for the day  
Holly's family live in Coxwold  & own the pub !

The Byland Tea Room, across the street from Byland Abbey, has charming interiors with Mouseman furniture, and inquisitive, advice-giving staff.  Since we were the only ones there, we got a lot of attention, but once the food was served we had a lot of privacy.  The two women there were very personable and they run a B&B here with a few rooms.  They had great accents and sense of humor and our lunch meal here was really impressive.   

Byland Tea Room with guest rooms today's lunch menu Mouseman furniture  
    nice dining spaces    
Abbey stone ends up in the tea room house Tea Room and the Abbey to the east < another prolific cotoneaster

Byland Abbey

The guide book states "with its galleried upper walls, brightly painted decorations, and new handling of light and space, it reached a splendor far removed from the earlier Cistercian buildings with their relatively plain walls and small windows.....it was one of the first to break away fully from the Romanesque tradition". 

early Gothic architecture Byland was completed in 1177 another light rain day  the Nave, looking east
  the floor was tiled in the 1200s     fireplace
many fireplaces from the west from the north  
      tools back then    
    Abbey bone yard back at home the guide book states Byland Abbey had the  most elaborate interior among all Cistercian Abbeys; note the red highlights

Helmsley Castle

The first Helmsley Castle, made of wood, was built in 1120 by Walter L'Espec, a lifelong follower of King William II.  Walter was given a tremendous land grant by Wm. II, but he died childless, his property holdings therefore passing to his sister's de Roos family by marriage.  

In 1186, Robert de Roos constructed the Medieval castle which still stands, sort of.   

An interesting bit of history is that in his time, Walter L'Espec made a generous land grant of 6,000 acres to the Cistercian Order, enabling nearby Rievaulx Abbey to be built, while a generation later Robert de Roos the inheritor made a similarly generous land grant, which made Fountains Abbey possible.          

Robert de Roos of Helmsley was one of 25 Barons selected to ensure that King John observed the conditions of the Magna Carta, signed in June 1215, 900 years ago plus change. The Great Agreement limited the arbitrary authority of the Kings of England to imprison, condemn, or execute Barons, without some form of due process, in a rough sort of way. 

Following Robert's death in 1227, de Roos descendants continued to reside in the Castle for the next five centuries. 

looking upstream looking downstream recording a royal gift of a building there was a craft fair going on inside that building
  the Castle was complete in the 1120s     a dry moat
    we had an earphone tour    
  the south barbican and gate house   Linda going back in time east tower
  east tower again Castle overlooks the village walking on the Castle wall
  the west tower, or main residence Helmsley Walled Garden    
a lot of levels were here the fam   Knight Templar Robert de Roos, see notes below
  the main Church in Helmsley   another great wooden ceiling  
      interesting construction  

History side note - noted well after our trip - the terms or clauses of the Magna Carta, negotiated between the Barons, and King John (who ruled from 1199 to 1216) were the baby steps of what we moderns call the Rule of Law, and it seeded the idea of a Parliament, intended to be an advisory group to the King, representing the Barons and Nobles.  

It was King John's very costly losing wars in France and resulting high taxation at home which gave the leading Barons their leverage to take the King on, and demand some rights. They had to physically capture him, for supplemental leverage. 

King John signed the original documents, under duress, and afterwards he legally pushed back, for years, even enlisting the Pope's help from Rome in nullifying the Agreement.  But the seed of limited public representation was planted.

The next English King, Henry III (1216-1292) was equally unenthusiastic about Magna Carta, and a poor ruler to boot & the people suffered thereof...

The subsequent King, Edward I (1272 - 1307) was reluctant at first but came to realize the value implied by the Magna Carta of having your most powerful, supportive, and interested Nobles & Barons be involved in taxation and in the 'general governing' of their own giant land holdings, and of the Country, in general.     

Edward I was a very interesting King, and Marc Morris's book A Great and Terrible King, Edward I and The Forging of Britain, is a great read about the Medieval era in Europe.   

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