Cleeve Abbey: Guidebook

1960 (4th impress. 1967)

Cleeve Abbey in Somerset came into State Guardianship in 1951 after forming part of the Dunster estate.

The Cistercian abbey itself was founded from Ravesby in Lincolnshire (itself founded from Rievaulx in Yorkshire) on 25 June 1198. It was known as Vallis Florida. The abbey was dissolved in 1537. (For history see here.)

The guidebook was prepared by R. Gilyard-Beer in 1959, though this was formalised in 1960. This included not only a history and description of the abbey but also an architectural history. Two fold-out plans of the abbey appear inside the back cover. The guide was reissued by English Heritage and a second edition in 1990. Gilyard-Beer had earlier written guidebooks to Gisborough Abbey and Monk Bretton Priory, both in Yorkshire, as well as the Ministry’s handbook to Abbeys.

The abbey ruins inspired the work of the architectural historian Sir Howard Montagu Colvin.

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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