Medieval Realms

Visual timeline of St Mary's Abbey

The pictures above show how St Mary's Abbey has changed through the years. The images are as follows, from left to right:


1662 - This is map by John Speede of York.  You can see some of the buildings of the abbey still standing and the abbey precinct is clearly marked, just north of the river on the extreme left.


1773 - This watercolour shows that the ruins of the abbey church were still greater than the present day.  Note the windows have been filled in and are now rectangular.  After the abbey was handed over to Henry VIII in 1539, he used parts of it as a palace.  The abbot's house became the modern day King's Manor (Where James the VI and I stayed on his way to London).  The windows would have been filled in as it was too expensive to keep the bigger windows because of the price of glass.


1801 - This view of the abbey church shows the church much more decrepit than before.  The cows and the rural landscape are probably more poetic licence than anything else and the Minster is certainly portrayed as being closer than it actually is. 


1856 - Finally, the remains of the abbey look much as they are today.  Some of the area in the foreground is now covered over by the Tempest Anderson Hall - an extension to the Yorkshire Museum added in the early twentieth century.  The walls of the church have largely disappeared.  The only difference between this and the scene of the present day is the amount of foliage growing around the ruins! 

Document icon Learning article provided by: Yorkshire Museum and Gardens |  The Guildhall, Leicester | 
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