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Pictures of St Mary's Abbey, York

a Historic Building in the town of York, in the county of North Yorkshire

About St Mary's Abbey, York

The idyllic ruins of St.Mary's Abbey form an eye-catching centrepiece in the grounds of the Yorkshire Museum and Gardens. These are all that remain of a Benedictine re-foundation by King William II in 1088 of a monastery built in 1055. For several hundred years St.Mary's was one of the wealthiest and grandest in the region.

St.Mary's was populated by monks from Lastingham who had transferred to live and work under Benedictine rule. The Prior, together with other members of the community became aware of the need for reform, this resulted in arguments, so a group led by the Prior left in 1132 to found the renowned Cistercian Fountains Abbey.

The old order at St.Mary's continued to flourish until Henry VIII's Dissolution, when it was closed and left to become the spectacular ruin we see today.

Excavated finds from the site are on display in the museum, and interestingly the ruinous building often forms a dramatic back-drop for productions of the famous York Mystery Plays.

These romantic ruins offer visitors the chance to experience a little of York's early Religious life. Together with the Yorkshire Museum, they are one of the City's "must sees" on every visitors tour of York.

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