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

The grange system of farming with a focus on Fountains

Earthworts at Ninevah Farm
© Cistercians in Yorkshire
<click to enlarge>
Earthworts at Ninevah Farm

Granges were agricultural centres from which the monks exploited their landscape and co-ordinated farming and industrial work.(2) Just as the castle was the key to the conquest and colonisation of England following the Normans' victory at Hastings in 1066, so the grange was fundamental to the Cistercians' successful expansion and management of the land. The granges supplied the monastery's food, clothing, utensils and building materials, and were thus essential to the self-sufficiency of the community. The granges were manned by lay-brothers, who cultivated the lands and reared livestock, but in the later Middle Ages they were generally leased to lay tenants or farmed by keepers.

There are few surviving granges but earthworks are visible on a number of former sites. Many of these sites are now occupied by modern farms, which make use of the medieval grange layout and design. For example, Ninevah farm in North Yorkshire stands on the Fountains' former grange of Morker.