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Jervaulx Hall
East Witton, England

[Wednesday - 10/26/94] After leaving Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal, we drove through the charming town of Ripon in search of our new lodgings at Jervaulx Hall. In Ripon itself, we passed a small cathedral which Susan noted as looking interesting. Still, we pressed on, racing the sun, to locate the medieval manor house that would be our next base of opeartions.

We arrived late in the evening at Jervaulx Hall, a simple-styled mansion built very near the remains of Jervaulx Abbey shortly after the Dissolution from materials gleaned primarily from the ruined grounds. It's occupied by Mrs. Claridge, the steward of the estate and is approached by an ancient gate-way, in the style, but not quite of so early a date, as the 12th c. Abbey itself. Also keeping guard over the grounds are two rugged guardians, the dogs Ben and Jack!

We slept hard after our long day. But the promise of wandering the grounds of another Cistercian abbey only yards away filled our dreams.

Most of the ruins we visited in Britain have been sanitized and cleaned up during this century. Jervaulx (pronounced 'Yer-voe') Abbey is one of the rare exceptions. Since it is privately owned and without the bigger maintenance budgets of the National Trust and English Heritage, the abbey is slowly falling down. Many large stones lie where they fell during the Dissolution 350 years ago. Vines and trees grow on the walls, the way they have for centuries. It's hard to imagine now that hundreds of monks have walked through this little arch since it was built almost 800 years ago.

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