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Kirkstall Abbey: location

Kirkstall Abbey: history
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Foundation
Consolidation
Rise and Fall
Dissolution

Kirkstall Abbey: buildings
Precinct
Church
Cloister
Sacristy
Library
Chapter House
Parlour
Day Room
Dormitory
Reredorters
Warming House
Refectory
Kitchen
Lay Brothers' Range
Abbots'Lodging
Infirmary
Guesthouse
Gatehouse

Kirkstall Abbey: Lands

Kirkstall Abbey: people

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View Movies The church

Plan of Kirkstall abbey showing the location of the church(1/8)

The church stood at the heart of monastic life and brought together communal worship, private prayer, ceremony and ritual. It was the most visited of the buildings and structured time and space within the monastery. The church at Kirkstall was one of the first buildings constructed when Abbot Alexander (1147-82) and his monks moved to Kirkstall from Barnoldswick in 1152. Although work would have begun almost immediately, the building was probably not completed until c. 1170, with furnishings, such as the wooden choir stalls, added at a later date.

The structure of the church underwent few alterations from its erection in the twelfth century until the Dissolution. The main changes were the insertion in the fifteenth century of a massive window in the east end of the church, which stretched almost the entire width of the wall, and the raising of the tower to belfry stage in the early sixteenth century. Like all Cistercian churches, that at Kirkstall was dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

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