Calder was established in 1135 by Ranulf de
Gernon, earl of Chester, and is the third house in the county
its origin to this famous family.(1) The
house was colonised by monks from the Savigniac house
of Furness but was the victim
military campaigns in the north of England, following the death
of Henry I in 1135. The desolate monks sought refuge at Furness
but were refused
entry. Eventually the monks of Calder, under the protection of
of York, were settled at Byland.
second colony of monks was sent to Calder from Furness in or about
under the leadership of Abbot Hardred. This time the settlement
was successful, although the community remained poor.(2) Calder,
along with all the other Savigniac houses, was transferred to
the Cistercian Order in 1147.
The number of monks probably never increased above the original
thirteen, and by 1381 there were only four monks and three
The house was suppressed
along with all the lesser monasteries in 1536, with a clear annual
income just over £50,
and a community of nine monks.(4) At
the time of the Dissolution, the
house was acquired by the royal commissioner, Thomas Leigh, and
parts of the house were adapted for occupation.(5) The
part of the tower, now some 64 ft high, and the west doorway,
with some of the chancel and transept; they are, however, unsafe
have to be viewed from the road or footpath.
The ruins stand in
the grounds of an eighteenth-century private house, and may
by prior arrangement with the owner.