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The Cistercians in Yorkshire title graphic

The acquisition of lands and possessions


A checklist of lands
The ‘Foundation Narrative’ of Kirkstall, which dates from the early thirteenth century, lists the lands acquired during Alexander’s abbacy: Barnoldswick with Elfwynthorp; Brogen with its appurtenances; Cliviger (near Accrington) – one carucate of land with its appurtenances and pasture for horses and herds; Oldfield (near Keighley); Cookridge; Brearey; Horsforth; Allerton; Roundhay; Micklethwaite; Thorpe; a messuage in York; Hooten; Bessacar with two granges neighbouring the abbey (these were probably, Moor Grange and Bar Grange).
[The Foundation of Kirkstall, ed. and tr. E. Clark, Publications of the Thoresby Soc. IV (Leeds, 1895), pp. 180-1].

The community acquired many of its holdings in the twelfth and early thirteenth centuries, following its relocation to Kirkstall in 1152. These were mostly situated in the near vicinity and included places such as Allerton, Cookridge, Headingly, Horsforth and Seacroft. By the end of Alexander’s abbacy, c. 1182, Kirkstall had established holdings in all the areas where it would later develop its great estates.(2) It had also begun to establish a series of granges, which were agricultural centres worked by the lay-brothers, through which the community could exploit its lands directly.(3)