Bolton Abbey

Information on Bolton Abbey, Yorkshire

Bolton Abbey is a tiny village just off the A59 et the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The village takes its name from the ruined 12th-century Augustinian monastery now generally known as Bolton Priory. The monastery was originally founded at Embsay in 1120. The land at Bolton were given to the Augustinian order by Lady Alice de Romille of Skipton Castle in 1154 and the The Black Canons of the Order of St. Augustine founded their Abbey on the banks of the River Wharfe . In the early 14th century Scottish raiders caused the temporary abandonment of the site and serious structural damage to the priory. Building work was still going on at the abbey when the Dissolution of the Monasteries resulted in the termination of the priory in 1539. A tower, begun in 1520, was left half-standing, and its base was later given a bell-turret and converted into an entrance porch.
The Bolton Abbey Estate is mentioned in the Domesday Book and comprised of Bolton Abbey, Halton East, Embsay, Draughton; Skibeden, Skipton, Low Snaygill, Thorlby; Addingham, Beamsley, Holme, Gargrave; Stainton, Otterburn, Scosthrop, Malham, Anley; Coniston Cold, Hellifield and Hanlith. During the Norman Conquest the land was granted first to The Clamores of Yorkshire , then transferred to Robert de Romille around 1090, who moved its center to Skipton Castle. Ownership then passed to Robert Clifford and in 1748 Baroness Clifford married William Cavendish so Bolton Abbey Estate thereafter belonged to to the Dukes of Devonshire, who’s name is maintained on a number of pubs in the area. The 11th Duke of Devonshire passed ownership to the Chatsworth Settlement Trustees who steward the estate to the present day. The Estate is just under 30, 000 acres in size made up of 14, 000 acres of heather moorland, 14, 000 acres of agricultural land and 1, 500 acres of woodland.  The Estate is responsible for 198 residential properties, 54 farms and 27 commercial properties.  54 of these are listed properties.  It employs more than 80 people and supports a community of over 1500 people. It has five areas designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest, including Strid Wood, (The strid is the name for the section of the River Wharfe which runs through these estate).The railway reached Bolton Abbey in 1888. Special trains brought visitors in their Sunday best from the industrial towns to the South for a day out. The Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway still runs to Bolton Abbey station one and a half miles from Bolton Priory.

For info on where to stay in the Dales and hotel, B+B and cottage bookings see my accommodation page.

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