Friday, 20 June 2014

Fountains Hall and Fountains Mill

Two posts back, I ended my description of the walk my sister and I took from Ripon to Fountains Abbey with a first glimpse at the ruins of the abbey, and mentioned that one of my next posts would feature Fountains Hall.

Here it is:



The hall was built in the 17th century, using stone from the abbey ruins. Today, some of the rooms are open to visitors; this post from 2012 shows what it looks like inside.
You can even rent holiday flats in here - wouldn't it be great to be staying in such a place?

I can't remember the small garden opposite the hall having been open last time I was here. It was a new place for us to explore:



View from the entrance of the hall towards the walled garden.

What lies behind the wall:




Ready to move further on towards the ruins, we got distracted again by looking at some of the other buildings making up the estate. Some of these are inhabited by people who work on and for the estate, while others can be rented as holiday homes.




With all the times I have come here, there was still a place I had not been to: Fountains Mill. The sign said "open", and the large old door looked promising, so we went in and had a good look at what is one of the oldest building on the entire Fountains Abbey grounds. The mill was used from the very beginning of the monastery to grind corn, and served this purpose (although obviously not for the monastery any more) until 1927.
Part of the water-generated power was also used for a timber saw, and the rooms were home to refugees and a mason's workshop.
Nowadays, you can walk around the exhibtion and try your hands at some of the old machinery yourself.

In front of the mill is a tea shop, where we had a little break. We also discovered the Porter's Lodge, which has been housing an exhibition about the abbey since 2008. Somehow, I managed to completely miss this during my visits here since then. The exhibition is very well done. Central to it is a large model of the abbey and its grounds of how it may have looked in its heyday, before the dissolution of the monastery in the 1530s.

After that, we were finally walking across the grass to where the actual ruins begin - but that, as you may have already guessed, will be the subject of my next post.

19 comments:

  1. Hello Meike:

    A fascinating place to visit. We especially like the relative simplicity of the gardens.

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    1. Hello Jane and Lance,
      Fascinating it is, and even when on a Sunday with good weather like this there are many other visitors, the whole estate is so vast that there is plenty of peace and quiet left for everyone.

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  2. I'd love a holiday stay in such a place :)

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    1. Me too, but it is rather remote and would mean LOTS of walking just to get your basic things if you, like me, don't drive.

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    2. Yes... When I "dream" of such holidays now those daydreams always somehow include magic transportation (or at the very least a "Jeeves" kind of travel companion to drive me and carry my luggage for me etc) ;-)

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  3. I've got it on my list!

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  4. Well maybe I have walked by Fountains Hall but I don't remember it so you have taught me something about the neighbourhood of Fountains Abbey today. Isn't it a shame that many ancient buildings were used like quarries for newer constructions? Looking forward to the next post when you were NOT chased by a gang of Hell's Angels but where you and your sister were arrested by the monks for trying to sneak in without paying.

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    1. It is a shame that ancient buildings were used as big self-service B&Q markets in their days, but also understandable. Only much later did people come to see the romantic side of ruins, and it became all the fashion for rich aristocrats to have at least one (sometimes purpose-built) in their large parks.
      When the abbey ruins were "re-discovered" as an asset for the landscape, they were deliberately made overgrown with plenty of ivy and wild flowers to make them even more romantic. Again, it took people a long time to understand that this way of treating the ruins was causing just as much further destruction to them as using them for building materials.

      Ha! We did pay - I still have the tickets to prove it!

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  5. Oh, to spend a holiday there! It would be a dream come true.

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  6. What a remarkable looking old mill. Wonderful. I would love to visit it.

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    1. It is very interesting to walk around inside, too, and hear the sounds and see what the big wheels do.

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  7. Meike, I'm always impressed there are no people in your photos. How do you manage that?

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    1. Not easily done, Jill. I sometimes wait for just the right second between one person having left the area I want to take a picture of and the next person coming into view. But there are also pictures I would like to take but never do, because I can not tell people to move on just for my sake.

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  8. A wonderful time you're having! And what an amazing contrast there would be between a room at the castle and your dear and cozy matchbox cottage! I know which I would chose.

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    1. The cottage is very much like a real home, Kristi, I can really imagine living there all the time. The castle - I don't know what the holiday flats are like, how big the rooms and how well the heating works; that would be a crucial factor for me!

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  9. Hello Meike, I've just been catching up on your trip and these wonderful ruins and country side.
    I expect a man in mail and a jousting suit to show up one of these days! Though more likely it would be a monk in a cowl, holding a big bowl of cornmeal. Would love to be able to see it in a hubbub of activity as I'm sure it was. How peaceful it must be there and you are really getting to know it with your yearly sojourns.
    Good luck in class,
    julie

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    1. Thank you, Julie!
      They sometimes do medieval markets on the grass in front of the ruins; we happened to catch one a few years ago, and it added much to the atmosphere.

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