Beautifully set in a valley landscaped by ‘Capability’ Brown in the 18th Century, Roche Abbey has one of the most complete ground plans of any English Cistercian monastery, laid out as excavated foundations.
Founded in the 12th century as a monastry of the Cistercian order, Roche Abbey was once home to 50 monks and 100 lay brothers. Unlike other Cistercian monastries in Yorkshire, such as Rievaulx or Byland Abbey, Roche was modest in size which was more typical of the order.
Despite the monastry being supressed in 1538, and most of the buildings dismantled, the soaring early Gothic transepts of this Cistercian monastery still survive to their original height and are ranked in importance with the finest early Gothic architecture in Britain. The ruins are now also the centrepiece of a beautifully designed landscape.