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The Cistercians in Yorkshire title graphic

Kirkstall Abbey: List of abbots(1)


Alexander (founding abbot) 1147-82 'A true abbot in deed and name.'(2)
Ralph Haget 1182-c.90 'A man of piety and noteworthy for all holiness; a lover of justice and most ardent in rivalry for the good of the Order.'(3)
Lambert c. 1190-93 'A man of supreme innocence and singleness of mind.'(4)
Turgisius c. 1196 'A man of noteworthy self-restraint.'(5)
Helias of Roche c. 1203 'A man of energy, fully practised in dealing with outside affairs.'(6)
Ralph of Newcastle c. 1204-1231/2  
Walter Succeeded Ralph; d.1231x3 (brief abbacy)  
Maurice ? - 1249. Perhaps succeeded Walter in 1239; occ. 1234-46; abbacy ended in 1249  
Adam 1249-? Occ. 1257  
Hugh Mikelay 1260-2  
Simon 1262-70 Simon attended Simon de Montfort's parliament in 1265.
William of Leeds 1270-75  
Gilbert of Cotles / Cotes 1275-80 The General Chapter demanded Gilbert's resignation on account of the abbey's debts.
Henry Kar / Carr 1280-? Occ. 1285 In 1281 he became lord of the manor of Bradley.
William of Darlington (Parlington) Occ June 1285-June 1258 William's abbacy is omitted in the 'Foundation of Kirkstall.'(7)
Hugh Grimston 1289-1304 The 'Foundation of Kirkstall' erroneously states that Hugh succeeded to the abbacy in 1284 since he did not make his profession of obedience to the archbishop of York until February 1289.(8)
John of Bridesale / Birdsall 1304-? Occ. April 1312  
Walter 1314-?  
William of Driffield 1318-49  
Roger of Leeds 1349-? Occ. Feb. 1351  
John Topcliffe Occ. 1 July 1354-1368 John was at the forefront of local brigandage.
John of Thornberg Occ. Easter 1366 (referred to as former abbot 1399) In 1377 Abbot John was brought before the royal commissioners and charged with numerous offences.
John of Bardsey 1392 John purchased the Benedictine priory of Burstall with its possessions and revenues. The bell, 'Lawrence', which survives at Kirkthorpe may have been forged by him.
William of Stapleton 1414  
John of Colyngham 1433  
William Grayson 1452  
Thomas Wymbeslay 1468  
Robin Killenbeck 1499  
William Stockdale 1501 William raised the tower to belfry level; his initials can be seen carved at the base of the tower.
William Marshall 1509  
John Ripley (Brown) 1528 'A sober man who spoke little.' John surrendered the abbey in 1539 and is said to have resided in the old gatehouse until his death.