The Cistercians in Yorkshire Project is funded
through the New Opportunities Fund’s ground-breaking £50
million UK-wide digitisation programme which is designed to enable
the learning materials and resources
currently contained in galleries, communities, libraries, museums,
universities and other centres of excellence, to be directly accessible
to homes and communities via the internet. The Fund is the biggest
of the National Lottery good cause distributors.
The Project will focus on five of the Yorkshire
houses with significant standing ruins: Fountains,
Rievaulx, and Byland
principally, but also Roche and
Kirkstall. The architecture
of each site, explained in the context of other local churches (and
European Cistercian abbeys), will open visual and textual windows
onto the Cistercian way of life as experienced by the monks, the
lay-brothers and their
The Cistercians, or ‘White Monks’ , played a major role
in the religious and economic life of medieval England. Among the
Yorkshire houses, Fountains and Rievaulx, both founded in 1132,
are of notable importance and remain popular with visitors of all
ages; Fountains Abbey, indeed, is a World Heritage site. At the
centre of the Cistercian way of life lay the spiritual ideal of
settling ‘in the desert’ , yet the White Monks were to become significant
land-owners in Yorkshire (and beyond) and had a significant, and
enduring impact on their local environment. Many modern communities
in Yorkshire live on, or near, land that was once owned by the Cistercian
Order; residents and local schools will be encouraged, via on-screen
prompts, to explore the history of their local area.
By incorporating the newest technologies in
three-dimensional modelling with rigorous conventional historical
and archaeological research and expert architectural analysis of
the surviving fabric, this project is genuinely multi-faceted and
interdisciplinary. Its mission is to make the fruits of this scholarly
research accessible and appealing to the widest possible audience,
to show how these ‘bare ruined choirs’ can still sing to a modern,
Peter Derlien and Peter Webster for their work in
entering material onto the web site
Kate Green for her wonderful artwork. Kate Green is
a freelance illustrator based in Leicester. She has a masters
degree in Visual Communication from the University of Central
England and currently works
as a book illustrator and decorative artist.
Amy Hall and Julie Banham for their secretarial support.
Paul Leman (Corporate Information and Computing
Services, University of Sheffield) for his advice and the creation
QuickTime VR movie of Roche Abbey and interface.
Christiane Meckseper and Jamie McLaughlin (Humanities
Research Institute, University of Sheffield for their general
advice and work on the production of interactive content.
Tully Monk for her work on the Cistercian abbeys of the British Isles
and in the digitisation of images.