Posted by: frroberts | October 5, 2017

Destinations for Pilgrimage 2018: The Fountains

From Wikipedia

Foundation

After a dispute and riot in 1132 at the Benedictine house of St Mary’s Abbey, in York, 13 monks were expelled (among them Saint Robert of Newminster) and, after unsuccessful attempts to form a new monastery were taken under the protection of Thurstan, Archbishop of York.[3] He provided them with land in the valley of the River Skell, a tributary of the Ure. The enclosed valley had all the natural features needed for the creation of a monastery, providing shelter from the weather, stone and timber for building, and a supply of running water.[4] After enduring a harsh winter in 1133, the monks applied to join the Cistercian order which since the end of the previous century was a fast-growing reform movement that by the beginning of the 13th century was to have over 500 houses. So it was that in 1135, Fountains became the second Cistercian house in northern England, after Rievaulx. The Fountains monks became subject to Clairvaux Abbey, in Burgundy which was under the rule of St Bernard. Under the guidance of Geoffrey of Ainai, a monk sent from Clairvaux, the group learned how to celebrate the seven Canonical Hours according to Cistercian usage and were shown how to construct wooden buildings in accordance with Cistercian practice.[5][6][7]

Consolidation

After Henry Murdac was elected abbot in 1143, the small stone church and timber claustral buildings were replaced. Within three years, an aisled nave had been added to the stone church, and the first permanent claustral buildings built in stone and roofed in tile had been completed.[citation needed]

In 1146 an angry mob, annoyed at Murdac for his role in opposing the election of William FitzHerbert as archbishop of York, attacked the abbey and burnt down all but the church and some surrounding buildings.[8] The community recovered swiftly from the attack and founded four daughter houses. Henry Murdac resigned as abbot in 1147 upon becoming the Archbishop of York and was replaced first by Maurice, Abbot of Rievaulx then, on the resignation of Maurice, by Thorald. Thorald was forced by Henry Murdac to resign after two years in office. The next abbot, Richard, held the post until his death in 1170 and restored the abbey’s stability and prosperity. In 20 years as abbot, he supervised a huge building programme which involved completing repairs to the damaged church and building more accommodation for the increasing number of recruits. Only the chapter house was completed before he died and the work was ably continued by his successor, Robert of Pipewell, under whose rule the abbey gained a reputation for caring for the needy.[citation needed]

The next abbot was William, who presided over the abbey from 1180 to 1190 and he was succeeded by Ralph Haget, who had entered Fountains at the age of 30 as a novice, after pursuing a military career. During the European famine of 1194 Haget ordered the construction of shelters in the vicinity of the abbey and provided daily food rations to the poor enhancing the abbey’s reputation for caring for the poor and attracting more grants from wealthy benefactors.[citation needed]

In the first half of the 13th century Fountains increased in reputation and prosperity under the next three abbots, John of York (1203–1211), John of Hessle (1211–1220) and John of Kent (1220–1247). They were burdened with an inordinate amount of administrative duties and increasing demands for money in taxation and levies but managed to complete another massive expansion of the abbey’s buildings. This included enlarging the church and building an infirmary.

Difficulties

In the second half of the 13th century the abbey was in more straitened circumstances. It was presided over by eleven abbots, and became financially unstable largely due to forward selling its wool crop, and the abbey was criticised for its dire material and physical state when it was visited by Archbishop John le Romeyn in 1294. The run of disasters that befell the community continued into the early 14th century when northern England was invaded by the Scots and there were further demands for taxes. The culmination of these misfortunes was the Black Death of 1348–1349. The loss of manpower and income due to the ravages of the plague was almost ruinous.[citation needed]

A further complication arose as a result of the Papal Schism of 1378–1409. Fountains Abbey along with other English Cistercian houses was told to break off any contact with the mother house of Citeaux, which supported a rival pope. This resulted in the abbots forming their own chapter to rule the order in England and consequently they became increasingly involved in internecine politics. In 1410, following the death of Abbot Burley of Fountains, the community was riven by several years of turmoil over the election of his successor. Contending candidates John Ripon, Abbot of Meaux, and Roger Frank, a monk of Fountains were locked in conflict until 1415 when Ripon was finally appointed, ruling until his death in 1434. Under abbots John Greenwell (1442–1471), Thomas Swinton (1471–8), John Darnton (1478–95), who undertook some much needed restoration of the fabric of the abbey, including notable work on the church, and Marmaduke Huby (1495–1526) Fountains regained stability and prosperity.[citation needed]

At Abbot Huby’s death he was succeeded by William Thirsk who was accused by the royal commissioners of immorality and inadequacy and was dismissed as abbot. He was replaced by Marmaduke Bradley, a monk of the abbey who had reported Thirsk’s supposed offences, testified against him and offered the authorities six hundred marks for the post of abbot. In 1539 it was Bradley who surrendered the abbey when its seizure was ordered under Henry VIII at the Dissolution of the Monasteries.[citation needed]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: