St Mary's Abbey YorkSt Mary's Abbey was England's largest Benedictine abbey and was protected by its own wall of which much is still intact today. Like the majority of abbey's, it lays in ruins owing to Henry VIII's dissolution of the Monasteries.

York St Mary's Abbey is found in York's Museum Gardens and is situated next door to the Yorkshire Museum. It was the largest and richest Benedictine abbey in the North of England. Henry VIII had his men pull the abbey down in the Revolution of the Monasteries during the 1500's.

The Abbey's History

The original church on the site dated back to 1055.  After the Norman conquest, the church came into the possession of the Anglo Breton Alan Rufus and granted the land to Abbot Stephen and a group of Monks from Whitby.  After completion of the church it was rededicated to Virgin Mary.  Monks then moved to York from a site at Lastingham in Ryedale.  The abbey was badly damaged by fire in 1137 and the surviving ruins date back to 1271 after a rebuilding programme. When you visit St Mary's Abbey, do not forget to take a brief walk around the back, alongside the Yorkshire Museum.  This will give you further views of the remaining structure.