Yorkshire, England - Rievaulx Terrance & Abbey

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on the morning drive to the Abbey

Rievaulx Terrace, as well as the land the old Abbey sits on, are National Trust-managed properties, owned by the Duncombe family.     

In the mid-1700s Charles Duncombe was a stock market investor who became the wealthiest commoner in England.  He apparently understood economics and became financial advisor to two successive English Kings, keeping 'the Exchequer' solvent, in the process earning himself a royal title & property.  He was also Mayor of London for a few terms.   

The large Duncombe property extends from the village of Helmsley to Rievaulx, and walkers can take a scenic 5.5 mile walk along River Rye from Helmsley to Rievaulx, much of it on the Duncombe property.  The old family estate house looks derelict now.       

The Docent said the Duncombes currently living on the property in a newer Manor house continue to use this small Palladian style building (below) and dining room. 

Last winter a cook, food & wine and 25 guests were flown in by helicopter, for a feast on a very snowy day. 

The Docent also said that in the mid 1700s, ruins like Rievaulx Abbey (similar to Fountains Abbey) were often incorporated into larger private gardens because they introduced a 'romantic' aspect - an admiration for the works of the past.  

When the sons of the wealthy Brits began to 'study abroad', in France or Italy, they found reverence for old Roman ruins, and created an off-shoot gardening trend back home.  It became so popular a look, she said, that wealthy land owners in England and on the Continent sometimes constructed fake Abbey ruins on their property.   

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

Palladian style dining room upstairs & kitchen below we had a great chat with the Docent Boar pattern indicates lineage to King Richard the 3rd
  period furniture The Duncombe Family   painted by an Italian artist in residence for 3 years
    first look at Rievaulx in a light rain looking into River Rye watershed
mainly woodruff woods on Rievaulx  Terrace    

Rievaulx Abbey - In the 1200s there was a community of 650 residents here, consisting of lay monks & choir monks.  Similar to other monasteries, the choir monks were engaged in study and devotion, while the lay monks, often illiterate, performed the day-to-day work that insured survival, including a lot of engagement with the local farm & craft-based community.   

Choir Monks had to get up year round at 2 am for Matins, typically going to bed around 6 pm, a self-denial routine, while Lay monks were basically on day-shift.  At Services choir monks sat up front and lay monks at the back. 

The audio-tour said there was a substantial community of craftsmen and suppliers, as well as mine workers, living in a village which stretched out along the River Rye for a half-mile upstream & downstream of the Abbey.  When times were good, all levels of the economy thrived.  Wikipedia says that Rievaulx Abbey became one of the wealthiest Abbeys in England, "mining lead and iron, rearing sheep and selling wool to buyers from all over Europe." 

  the Presbytery, constructed in the 1140s    
    restored section of the Cloister cascading cotoneaster I've never see this plant with so many berries
    floor tiles Monks' dining hall (Refectory)

We walked through a nearby woods and crossed twice over the River Rye.  (Rievaulx is French for River Rye) 

'this green and pleasant land' walking past the visitor center nasturtium on old rock wall  walking easement 
  looking back from the foot path   where the Rievaulx craft people used to live and work   
a side creek joins the Rye near the bridge old bridge at  River Rye   view from the roadside hedgerow
  old house next to Abbey there's a very thin net covering the thatch probably for wind protection the net, barely visible
old home              

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