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The Cistercians in Yorkshire title graphic

Urban properties


Rievaulx's urban holdings
© Cistercians in Yorkshire Project
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Rievaulx's urban holdings

Whilst Cistercian monks sought to live in secluded areas, it was nevertheless important and indeed necessary to secure urban properties, so that members of the community had somewhere suitable to stay when travelling or on business. By the late twelfth century Rievaulx had possessions in the city of York (at Hungate), in the wool-working centre of Beverley, and in the two ports of Scarborough and Yarm.(51) By the fourteenth century the community had a house and land in the market centre of Boston, and had acquired a stone house in Beverley, as well as buildings in Scarborough and Yarm. If, as was often the case, the community did not require constant access to a certain property, this might be leased out with the monks retaining the right to stay here when needed, for example, at market time. This leasing of property was a particularly useful resource during times of hardship, since it generated extra cash or goods.

In the mid-twelfth century the community of Meaux granted a messuage and buildings in Hedon, formerly given to the monks by their founder, William, earl of Albermale, to Roger, son of Benedict the chamberlain, retaining the right to stay here when coming and going to Salthaugh.
[EYC no. 1315 (1150-60).]

Rievaulx did not simply own houses in urban centres and had property in other places such as the forest of Swaledale, as well as Allerton, Newsham, Normanby, Wombleton, Pilley and also Harlsey. The abbot’s house at Harsley was broken into in 1285 and his forester, Serlo, was assaulted.(52)