Pilgrimage walk to Fountains Abbey

A Breckon - 13 Mar 2020

13th March 2020

Over the past few weeks we have been studying Fountains Abbey in our history lessons. We've been researching what makes it special and why it was given World Heritage status. We wanted to know more about its creation and the monks who lived there. Why did the monks live such a strict life? Where did they come from?

Some of our questions were answered on Wednesday when we took part in the pilgrimage walk from Ripon cathedral to Fountains Abbey (a 4 mile walk). We learnt about how the monks who established Fountains Abbey were originally Benedictine monks, from St Mary's monastery in York but who felt disconnected from the modern ways monks were living, who they considered had lost their way and were getting too involved with York city life, politics and artistic culture. They wanted a simpler life, and so were given land considered inhospitable in the Skell valley. After staying in Ripon's monastery for Christmas, they set off on their journey to establish a new 'Cistercian' monastery which was more in keeping with their values.

We retraced their steps and spent the day learning about how the monks would have lived. Ripon cathedral kindly invited us to have a brief chat and tour.


We were lucky with the weather and enjoyed the beautiful scenery.

Once we arrived at the Abbey, we found a scenic spot to enjoy lunch.

Janet, the educational co-ordinator from Fountains Abbey gave us a tour of the Abbey and explained the lifestyle monks would have been used to. She explained how monks thought conversation was an opportunity for sin and tried to communicate through hand symbols and lead a very busy day, praying in service up to 8 times a day, writing scripts, tending to livestock and obeying strict rules. 

 We are very lucky to have a World Heritage Site on our doorstep and had a brilliant day discovering more about it.




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