Ampleforth Abbey is home to a community of Benedictine monks who seek God according to the Gospel and the Rule of St Benedict.
The impressive remains include the lower half of a huge rose window which was the inspiration for the same window at York Minster. Another interesting feature is the preservation of some of the brightly coloured medieval floor tiles
Byland Abbey was founded as a Savigniac Abbey in January 1135 and was absorbed by the Cistercian order in 1147. It was not an easy start for the community who had had to move five times before settling here. Despite its early disputes with other abbeys, by the late 14th century, it was hailed as 'one of the three shining lights of the north'. It gained financial success through its sheep rearing and wool exports and as a result its church was said to be among the finest 12th century churches in Europe.
In the late 12th century the abbey had a complement of 36 monks and 100 lay brothers, but by the time of the dissolution in November 1538, the abbey was host only to 25 monks and an abbot.