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Kirkstall Abbey

Kirkstall Abbey was founded as a result of a solemn vow made by Henry de Lacy, Baron of Pontefract Castle. He promised to give land to the Cistercian Order of monks if he recovered from a severe illness. On the 19th May 1152 the monks moved to Kirkstall, a large part of the Abbey was built between 1152 and 1182.

During the 12th and 13th centuries, there was a community of about 200 monks and lay brothers, who lived, worked and prayed around the clock at Kirkstall Abbey. The Abbey had over twenty granges or outlying estates and was an early pioneer of the exploitation of iron ore deposits in the region. The size of the community declined in the Middle Ages and at the Dissolution there were only 30 monks.

In November 1539 Kirkstall Abbey was closed, the monks were pensioned off, and the monastic estates sold into private ownership. The Abbey buildings deteriorated because of weathering and lack of maintenance. In 1889 a Leeds man, Colonel John North, purchased the abbey and surrounding land and generously presented them to the City of Leeds.

General Information:

  • Brand new visitor centre
  • Level access from main road
  • Car Park other side of road - wheelchair users may need assistance.

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    Kirkstall Abbey Postcode for SatNav: LS5 3EH


    +44 (0)1132 305 492

    Abbey Walk
    Abbey Road
    West Yorkshire
    LS5 3EH

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