Rievaulx Abbey: Guidebooks

1967 (4th impression 1974)

Rievaulx Abbey was placed in state guardianship in 1917 and the site cleared by Sir Charles Peers. Peers wrote the first official guidebook in 1928, and this became the blue guide that continued into the 1970s. This starts with a history (pp. 3-4), and then a guide (pp.5-15). There is a short paragraph on Rievaulx Terrace and Temples (cared for by the National Trust). There is a fold-out plan inside the back cover.

1967 (8th printing 1983)

The 8th printing was made in 1983. Note the slightly darker blue cover and the change of font.


This became the English Heritage Handbook to Rievaulx Abbey (1986), published by the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England. This is essentially the same as the 1983 guide.


In 1967 the MPBW produced a picture book of Rievaulx Abbey. This contains a series of black and white images, including an Alan Sorrell reconstruction, with short texts. At the back of the book is a ‘A tour of Rievaulx Abbey’ that starts at the ‘custodian’s hut’.


The current English Heritage guide  is by Peter Fergusson, Glyn Coppack and Stuart Harrison (2006). This follows the present arrangement of a tour followed by a history. Plans appear in the foldout back cover.


Rievaulx features in A Look Round the Monasteries of North-East Yorkshire by Alan Phillips (1962). Phillips was the author of the souvenir guides for the Edwardian castles of north Wales (e.g. Caernarfon, Harlech, Beaumaris).

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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