Arts

Fleshing out the ruins Premium

16 June 2016 | by Joanna Moorhead

What is most extraordinary about Rievaulx, the twelfth-century Cistercian abbey in Yorkshire, is that it is there at all. One minute you are cruising down a remote country lane, passing hawthorn bushes and fields full of sheep and the occasional cottage; and the next minute, wham! There it is in front of you, vast and majestic, its towering walls rising up towards the heavens, its pointed arches forming a perfect geometric procession against the sky.

Rievaulx (its name means river-valley) would have remained just that, a gentle, tree-filled valley with a stream running languidly through, had it not been for the arrival here in 1132 of a handful of monks who had made the 700-mile journey from Burgundy. They were refugees from what had become a too-cushy lifestyle with the Benedictines; they were ascetics in search of a more demanding, Cistercian, God-centred life; and the moment they arrived at the valley some 20 miles due north of York, they knew they had reached the end of their journey.

For the next 400 years they colonised the valley: they farmed the land and quarried for stone, they built an astonishing and beautiful church and monastery, and they provided a home for, at times, upwards of 600 men.

....... ....... ........ ........ ........ ........ ........ ........ ........ ........ ........

New Subscribers click here
New users wishing to Register to read this article click here
Existing Subscribers and Registered users can login here



Article List


TABLET WORLD…
Latest Issue
Digital/PDF Version

PDF version (iPad-friendly)

Previous Issues
Latest Tweet
Most Read Articles

Pope 'deeply saddened' by Westminster terrorist attack and assures those affected of his prayers23 March 2017 by Rose Gamble

Meetings, money and dress code: how Francis is trying to change curia, by one of his most influential advisors21 March 2017 by Christopher Lamb

British soldier turned priest who risked life to keep Catholic church alive in Algeria to become a bishop17 March 2017 by Christopher Lamb

Pope 'deeply saddened' by Westminster terrorist attack and assures those affected of his prayers23 March 2017 by Rose Gamble

Meetings, money and dress code: how Francis is trying to change curia, by one of his most influential advisors21 March 2017 by Christopher Lamb

British soldier turned priest who risked life to keep Catholic church alive in Algeria to become a bishop17 March 2017 by Christopher Lamb

Eamonn Casey remembered: Charismatic, complex, champion of the poorPremium23 March 2017 by Sally O’Neill

Nouwen and the wounded healer: History offers a vision of what the priesthood can look likePremium16 March 2017 by Michael W. Higgins

Once a Catholic: Many of Martin Luther's demands have come to pass in the 500 years since he published his demandsPremium16 March 2017 by Peter Stanford

Eamonn Casey remembered: Charismatic, complex, champion of the poorPremium23 March 2017 by Sally O’Neill

Nouwen and the wounded healer: History offers a vision of what the priesthood can look likePremium16 March 2017 by Michael W. Higgins

Once a Catholic: Many of Martin Luther's demands have come to pass in the 500 years since he published his demandsPremium16 March 2017 by Peter Stanford

Share Us
Tablet Subscription

Manage my subcription here

Manage
Newsletter

Sign up for our newsletter

Sign Up
Top