Completed between 1152 and 1182, Kirkstall Abbey still stands substantially to its full height, its massive structure presenting a unique example of early Cistercian architecture. Although its community was disbanded in 1539, it has continued to attract the attention of increasing numbers of visitors, for no other building so completely illustrates this early period of English monastic life.
For further information on the history of the Abbey, see their website.
The Abbey is splendid. I never saw an ancient ruin of a church or abbey that I didn't love, and Kirkstall is no exception. My only regret is that the area is fenced and gated, and we did not get to walk inside the ruins. For me, the feel of a holy place, where prayers were said over centuries, is only experienced from the inside.
DP told me that on special occasions, services are still held in the Abbey. To hear that prayers are still being said in the holy place, even until today, pleased me a great deal.
In my earlier post on the Abbey House Museum, I mentioned that the day began with rain, but as you see in the pictures, the sun shone upon us by the time we walked around the Abbey.
Since I'd seen the lovely ruins of the Abbey up on the hill in a previous visit and longed to have a closer look, I'm thankful to my good friend DP for taking me to visit.
More to come on our day in Leeds, in which we continued to enjoy beautiful weather.
I'm afraid that I'm jumping around the timetable of my travels, but bear with me. I write as I write.
Note: The pictures are mine, with the exception of the photo at the top, which is from the slideshow at the Abbey website.