Easby Abbey

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Easby Abbey

North Riding

EasbyAbbey Refectory.jpg
Easby Abbey refectory
Grid reference: NZ184003
Location: 54°23’52"N, 1°43’1"W
Main town: Richmond
Founded: 1152
Founder: Roald, Constable of Richmond Castle
Owned by: English Heritage
Website: Easby Abbey

Easby Abbey is a ruined Premonstratensian abbey on the eastern bank of the River Swale on the outskirts of Richmond in the North Riding of Yorkshire.

The abbey was founded in 1152 by Roald, Constable of Richmond Castle, and dedicated to St Agatha.[1] It was dissolved at the Reformation.

The site today is maintained by English Heritage and can be reached by a riverside walk from Richmond Castle. Within the precinct is the still-active parish church, displaying 13th-century wall paintings.


Easby Abbey was founded for the Premonstratensian order, monks who wore white habits and became known as the White Canons.[2] The White Canons followed a code of austerity similar to that of Cistercian monks. Unlike monks of other orders, they were exempt from episcopal discipline. They undertook preaching and pastoral work in the region (such as distributing meat and drink).

The abbey was founded in 1152 by Roald, who served as Constable of Richmond Castle, which castle stands within site of Roald's foundation.

Like most northern monasteries, Easby suffered from frequent Scottish raids during the Middle Ages. Also great damage was caused to Easby and Egglestone Abbey in 1346 when the English army was billeted there on its way to the Battle of Neville's Cross.

In the late 1530s King Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries, Easby among them: the abbey was abandoned and left to fall into ruins, though some of the best features were salvaged: the fine canopied choir stalls are now found in Richmond parish church.

Pictures of Easby Abbey

St Agatha's Church, Easby

The Church of St Agatha, Easby Church, stands outside Richmond, and can easily be reached from the town along the trail alongside the river. The exact foundation date of Easby Church is unknown, but it is thought to predate the neighbouring abbey. Little of the original church remains. St Agatha’s retains mediæval frescoes that were preserved beneath the Reformation whitewash and later revealed. The church and abbey are open free of charge to the public.

In Easby Church is a plaster replica of the carved stone Easby Cross. The original, which dates from the late 8th or early 9th century, is now in the Victoria and Albert Museum.

The survival of this extremely rare early Christian cross is remarkable because when the church was being renovated the cross was broken up and used as convenient building stone in the new church. It was preserved there until it was found in the wall of the church and reassembled in the 20th century.

Pictures of St Agatha's Church

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Easby Abbey)
("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about St Agatha's Church)