Bolton Abbey Priory through the Seasons


In 1155 Augustin monks based in Embsay opted to build an Priory on a rise near the river.  400 years or so later in 1539 Henry Vlll caused its dissolution.  The ruins of Bolton Abbey are situated on the lower reaches of the River Wharfe in North Yorkshire. The bend in the river is a scenic setting for the old monastery building and this is a favourite picnic spot for trippers. These are some photos of Bolton Abbey through the seasons.

Bolton Abbey Autumn


The dissolution started with the Act of Suppression 1536 where monasteries with income below £200 were to be closed. This caused the ‘Pilgrimage of Grace’ an uprising in the North and the siege at Skipton castle.

The first Earl of Cumberland, aided by Christopher and Robert Aske, defended the castle and later bought the Bolton Priory.

The second phase of dissolution lasted until 1539 when Bolton Prior at last succumbed to ‘voluntary’ liquidation. The farm and granges were split up and carefully leased in preparation and the priory was surcharged by the commissioners.


Bolton Abbey Summer


There is still an active church within part of the renovated monastery. It makes an ideal place for a picnic in the summer. Bolton Abbey is also well served with tea shops – in the village of Bolton Abbey and just a mile up stream at Cavendish pavilion.


Walk along river Wharfe by Cavendish Pavillion.

Bolton Abbey Winter


This is early winter, late Autum

bolton-abbey-sun-clThe abbey viewed from the road.

Bolton Abbey Spring


Late March


Bolton Abbey spring daffodils


Trivia and Interesting Facts:

  • In the 1960s film – ‘A Sporting Life’, the two main characters visit Bolton Abbey. A sporting life is a grim and realistic portrayal of life in Wakefield. Their escape to Bolton Abbey was one of the few chances to smile in the whole film.
  • Several people have disappeared or drowned at a notorious stretch of the river Wharfe at Bolton Abbey known locally as The Strid, said to be riddled with underwater pools, hidden ledges and powerful undercurrents.
  • 12th Century meat consumption in the Priory was about what we eat today.  Gallons of wine and beer were drunk made from raisins and locally grown oats.

Bolton Abbey
The Dales Way follows the river past Bolton Abbey on onward alongside the river Wharfe. 84 miles of pleasure and blisters. It is not so hard if you do the walk in stages but that may be heresy to ardent walkers

Bolton bridgeJust upstream there is a dangerous patch of river at Strid wood. A whirlpool can drag the unsuspecting swimmer or jumper under and cause drowning. The banks look close together but the varying heights can cause jumpers to fall. keep clear.

Bolton Abbey
Military research on a grave stone near the abbey. Some of the monuments are fascinating.

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