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The Cistercians in Yorkshire title graphic

QuizRoche Abbey: history

Reconstruction of Roche Abbey church
A reconstruction of the 12th century church a cloister at Roche Abbey

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The history of Roche Abbey, Yorkshire, expands from the foundation of the house in 1147 until its dissolution in 1538. Roche is today one of the less well-known Cistercian abbeys and there are no exceptional personalities associated with the community yet, as the following screens show, the abbey played an integral role in matters relating to the Order as well as the locality, and both participated in and was affected by national affairs.

Roche was a joint foundation by Richard de Busli, lord of Maltby, and Richard FitzTurgis, lord of Hooten, and was in this respect rather unusual. Otherwise, the abbey’s development was in many ways similar to that of other Cistercian abbeys in the county - a period of growth and consolidation with its highs and lows was followed by a gradual decline.

Little remains of the buildings at Roche and there are few surviving documentary sources. Aerial photography of the site, however, reveals an almost complete outline of the precinct, and a remarkable account of the spoliation of the abbey in the sixteenth century provides a vivid insight to the fate of the abbey after the Dissolution.