According to a chart in the Abbey tea room, my 18th great grandparents, Henry FitzHugh, Lord Ravensworth, and his wife, Elizabeth Grey de Marmion were buried in the Abbey in 1424. I emailed the website for the Abbey to be sure the info I had from Ancestry.com was correct because I didn’t want to pay a driver to take me to the Abbey from Leeds if the information was incorrect. I received a prompt reply from Anna, the current owners of the of the Abbey’s daughter, verifying the information. I hired a driver from Amber cars, a very nice young Pakistani born and raised in Leeds, named Ali, to drive us to the Abbey and return. The trip takes just over an hour and includes beautiful scenery and small villages along the way.
We were amazed at the size of the Abbey. The Cistercian monks began construction in the mid-12th Century. The Abbey grew and thrived until the General Suppression of the Monasteries under Henry VIII. Jervaulx Abbey’s suppression in 1537 was a direct result of the Pilgrimage of Grace. The last abbot, Adam Sedbar, one of the leaders of the Pilgrimage, was later executed for treason, and the Abbey fell directly to the King. As with other monasteries of the time, the destruction included the church and buildings to prevent the monks from returning to their old home. The destruction also included their art treasures usually destroyed for their scrap value. The scale model in the tea room shows the Abbey as it would have appeared before the Suppression. At the height of its prosperity, the Abbey owned half the valley of the Ure river. Jer is a version of the name of the River Ure (or Yore), to the south of which the Abbey stands, and Vaulx means vale or valley. The chart in the Abbey tea room depicts the history of the Abbey up to 1806, when the first Earl of Ailesbury started preserving the ruins.
The photos of the Abbey on the internet don’t begin to do justice to the site. The current owners, Ian Burdon and his family, do an excellent job managing and preserving the Abbey. Their Honesty Box form of payment allows visitors to access the beautiful site at any time. I thanked Anna, the daughter who replied to my email. She was gracious, welcoming and eager to share her knowledge of this meaningful site.