On one of the trips we made to Yorkshire in 2017, we actually went to have a look at the ruins of St Mary’s Abbey. Normally after exploring the city, or more like, fight your way around York, on the way back to the train or car park, you say to yourself, oh we will look next time. So this time we looked first, the abbey is in the museum gardens and luckily the sun was shining for February We still have to visit the Museum next to the abbey, as its full of lovely interesting items and to explore the gardens further, oh well something to see next time.
A little history……..St Mary’s Abbey in York was a great institution which sat opposite and mirrored the city’s cathedral for some 350 years. Its story ties together two of the most important events in English history. It was begun by William the Conqueror to reinforce his hold on the north after 1066 and ended by Henry the Eighth as a consequence of his Reformation of the church. In its day it was the wealthiest abbey in the north and one of the richest in the country. The abbey’s economic power and privileges brought benefits to the city but were also a source of conflict. Its monks provided charity but were sometimes derided for their lifestyles.
After the abbey fell victim to Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries 1539. Its riches were confiscated and the building taken part, then left to collapse, The ruins of the church today still give a sense of its scale and grandeur.
The museum stands in Museum Gardens, immediately beside the ruins of St Mary’s Abbey.
The Multangular Tower is the western corner tower of the Roman fortress, and consists of both Roman and medieval architecture.
The Hospitium is located between the ruins of St. Mary’s Abbey Church and the River Ouse and is thought to have originally been a guest house for visitors to the abbey of low social rank, or possibly a barn. It was originally part of a group of buildings in the abbey grounds that included a brew-house, stables, mill and, near the main gate, a boarding school with 50 pupils. The oldest parts of the ground floor were built around 1300, but the upper storey has been extensively restored in modern times. The ruined gateway at the side dates back to the 15th century, and was probably the entrance to a passage that ran towards the water-gate by the river.