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Photographer's Note

Fountains Abbey, named for the fresh water springs in the area, was, in its heyday, a thriving, self-contained community. Founded by monks who wished to live a more austere life than they felt was the case at the Benedictine Abbey of St Mary’s in York, in 1132, a group of 13 were granted land on which to begin a new community. The first church was wooden and the stone church was completed around 1160.

By 1170, around 60 monks were living at Fountains Abbey, along with 200 lay brothers. The lay brothers were essential to the survival of the Abbey, because they were skilled craftsmen such as stonemasons, shoemakers, smiths and tanners. Many more were farm labourers and shepherds, managing the monastery’s ever-expanding estates. Some of them slept in the large dormitory at Fountains Abbey, while others lived on neighbouring farms. The system worked so efficiently that, by the mid-1400s, the monastery was one of the richest in England, and fleeces from the sheep were being sold as far afield as Italy. Hardly the spartan establishment to which its founders had aspired!

This shot is taken from the 12th century bridge which crosses the River Skell and leads to the lay brothers and guest quarters. The church and impressive tower are seen in the rear and on the right hand side you can see what was the very efficient lay brothers toilet block. Human waste was discharged straight into the river which ferried it away.

I present two versions of the shot, one has a slightly lower key.

Here is a larger version

This photograph is copyright of Rosemary Walden - © Rosemary Walden 2014. All rights reserved. Any redistribution or reproduction of the image in any form is prohibited. You may not, except with my express written permission, copy, reproduce, download, distribute or exploit the content. Nor may you transmit it or store it in any other website or other form of electronic retrieval system

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Additional Photos by Rosemary Walden (SnapRJW) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2792 W: 82 N: 6833] (30911)
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