Fountains Abbey

Fountains Abbey © David Gill
Fountains Abbey © David Gill

Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire was placed in state guardianship in 1966 and as described as the ‘brightest jewel’ in the collection of ‘monastic houses in Yorkshire’. Its foundation can be traced back to late December 1132.


The first guidebook (MPBW Souvenir Guide-Book) was prepared by Alan Phillips in 1967. This described the abbey as follows:

But by the manner of scenery combining with stone, in the scale and completeness of what has endured, and for some architectural features with few parallels or none, Fountains must be set apart from the field.

The guidebook is illustrated throughout, with some colour images.Inside the back cover is a fold-out ‘Tour of the Abbey’. Nineteen specific points are identified to take the visitor from the west entrance of the church through to the guest-houses.

The guidebook is by Alan Phillips who had prepared similar illustrated souvenir guidebooks for the castles at Beaumaris, Caernarfon, Conwy and Harlech in Wales (1961) and the Monasteries of north-east Yorkshire (1962).

1970 (1971)
1970 (1971)

The official DOE blue guide was by R. Gilyard-Beer, Assistant Chief Inspector of Ancient Monuments (1970). This contained 76 pages, with 7 separate plans showing the elements of the abbey, with a fold-out plan inside the back cover. Gilyard-Beer had written the guide to Abbeys in state care.

Author: David Gill

David Gill is Honorary Professor in the Centre for Heritage at the University of Kent, and Honorary Research Fellow in the School of History and an Academic Associate in SISJAC at UEA; Professor of Archaeological Heritage.

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