go to home page go to byland abbey pages go to fountains abbey pages go to kirkstall abbey pages go to rievaulx abbey pages go to roche abbey pages
The Cistercians in Yorkshire title graphic

Text only version

About the Project






Contact Us

Cistercian Abbeys: PIPEWELL

Name: PIPEWELL Location: nr Pipewell village County: Northamptonshire
Foundation: 1143 Mother house: Newminster
Relocation: None Founder: William Butevilain
Dissolution: 1538 Prominent members:
Access: Private property – can be seen from the road

Pipewell was established in 1143 by William Butevilain. It was situated in the valley of Harper’s Brook, at the boundary between the parishes of Wilbarston and Rushton. Apparently William had approached both Newminster and Garendon to provide a colony for the settlement of the abbey, and it was only after a long argument that the monks of Garendon finally withdrew, leaving the way open for the foundation of the first daughter-house of Newminster.(1)
Pipewell abbey never grew to any considerable size or importance. In 1365 there were less than twenty monks and only fourteen at the time of suppression. In the assessment of 1535 the annual net income of the house was valued at £283 and the abbey was dissolved in the second round of closures, in 1538.(2) Before the house was suppressed, the gentlemen of the district tried to save the abbey by showing that it provided great relief and succour for the poor, but their efforts were to no avail. Following the Dissolution the site was granted to Sir William Parre. William Parrre intended to demolish the house, but before he could do so the property was looted by the locals. Demolition took place soon after and by 1720 no standing masonry was visible.(3)
Today, most of the precinct survives as earthworks with the church and cloister buildings at the centre. To the west of the precinct there is a massive mill pond and dam, together with a series of medieval quarries which have been worked into the twentieth century. The site is on private farm land but can be viewed from the road.