Friday, 8 June 2018

Kirkstall Abbey

We had a camera club outing to Kirkstall Abbey, so I had a happy time (not!) grappling with my tripod. I'm really not sure if using it makes much difference unless the light levels are very low...
Anyway, here are some of the resulting images.

Kirkstall Abbey is a ruined Cistercian monastery in Leeds. It was built of local millstone grit between 1152 and 1182 for the monks of Fountains Abbey, as a gift from Henry de Lacy, in thanks for his survival from a serious illness. Like most of our great abbeys, it was surrendered in 1539 to the Henry VIII's commissioners at the Dissolution of the Monasteries. It passed into private hands. By the 18th century, after much of the stone was reused in other buildings, it was a picturesque ruin, painted by the likes of JMW Turner. In 1889 it was passed to Leeds City Council, who made it safe and opened it as a visitor attraction, as it still is today.

The view below of the nave of the abbey church is perhaps the most photographed view. At one time, a main road into Leeds ran right up the nave between the pillars and out through the west window! The road was diverted in Victorian times and the west window was closed by a stone wall.

Although the ruins themselves are fenced in and entered through quite a nice visitor centre, the abbey suffers a little from being so close to the centre of the city. There is a fair amount of litter (why do people do that?) and it can get rather busy, with excited children clambering over the stones. It doesn't quite have the appeal of some of the more rural ruined abbeys, but nevertheless it's an important monument with a rich history. 


  1. Jenny your effort to lug the tripod have resulted in wonderful crystal-clear photos. Well done! As a boy I was informed that Kirkstall's gorgeous millstone was taken from the prolific Newlay quarry nearby. The old Aire bridge being now for pedestrians only, the quarry is best reached from "your" side of the valley. Moving thousands of tons of millstone in the Middle Ages must have been a herculean task.

  2. Lovely old ruins, and I do appreciate that you went to the effort to take such good photos! Thanks!

  3. Four very fine photographs. I have half a dozen tripods and hardly ever use one. I can hand hold at a pretty slow shutter speed, so it is rarely needed.


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