Fors Abbey-Askrigg

About a mile west from the town of Askrigg at Bowbridge formerly stood the Cistercian abbey of Fors, or De Caritate, founded by Acharius Fitz Bardolph in 1147, and translated 1156 to Jervaulx, by Conan, Duke of Bretagne and Earl of Richmond.

From a 17th century survey we learn that the Manor of Wensleydale consisted of the possessions of the Abbey of Jervaulx in the forest of Wensleydale, north of the Ure. This survey provides us with the following history.

In 1086 four Carucates (One carucate is the area of land a team of eight oxen could plough in one year, approximately 120 acres) in the place known as Fors were held by Count Allan by Bodin. His nephew Acharis, son of Bardolf granted one and a half carucates here to found the Abbey of Charity.

Hugh, son of Gernagen, probably a tenant of Acharis was granted a like amount. The monks only remained at Fors for eleven years before removing to Yorevale (Jervaulx) Abbey.

Fors was considered cold and bleak and the monks sought more fertile and productive lands.

“GRANGE, a hamlet, in the township of Low-Abbotside, and parish of Aysgarth; 5 miles WNW. of Aysgarth, 1 mile SW. of Askrigg.” Dr. Whitaker informs us, ” is the original site of Jervaulx Abbey, since its abandonment, long known by the name of Dale-Grange, and now by that of the Grange alone.

The Abbey of Fors, or de Caritate, stood almost on the brink of the Meerbeck, about 100 yards south from the road leading from Askrigg to Bainbridge. Some recent alterations having been made in a barn which occupies the spot, I discovered one round-headed light, a genuine remnant of the original building; and there still remains in the wall a single trefoil window, from which I infer that the Monks of Jervaulx, out of reverence to the place of their origin, maintained a small cell upon the site long after and perhaps to the dissolution.”

Site of Fors 1775

Site of Fors 1854 map

Copy of a drawing received from James Scarr of Coleby Hall showing Wash Down near to Chantry Farm Askrigg. Is this evidence related to Fors Abbey?

Site of Fors taken January 2006

Trefoil window at the Chantry Bowbridge said to originate from Fors Abbey

A close up of one of the side stones surrounding the trefoil window and as you can clearly see it is some kind of worn face/gargoyle

Is this a relic from Fors Abbey?


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The Dales