5 miles SW of Malton, on a minor road off A64 stands the riverside ruins of an Augustinian priory, picturesquely set in the beautiful Derwent valley near the Yorkshire Wolds. Features include a gatehouse bedecked with the heraldry of the De Roos family of Helmsley Castle.
It was sometime during the 1120s that Walter l'Espec founded Kirkham Priory with a community of Augustinian canons. As Lord of Helmsley he later established two houses of the Cistercian Order, the great Rievaulx Abbey close to his estate, and a smaller abbey in Bedfordshire. But, legend has it, that Kirkham Priory was founded in memory of l'Espec's only son who had died close to this site after a fall from his horse. Some accounts say he was startled by a boar and others that he was a wild teen horseman and was racing.
A 13th century, twin-bayed lavatorium (for washing) is set in the west wall of the cloister. Despite the disappearance of the lead-lined water troughs, the arched bays contain some splendid decoration. The front wall of the late 13th century gatehouse remains as I said, still displaying several heraldic shields, and much of its figure sculpture.
There is also a fine moulded Romanesque arch that was possibly the doorway from the cloister to the refectory.The riverside ruins of an Augustinian priory, picturesquely set in the beautiful Derwent valley near the Yorkshire Wolds. Features include a gatehouse bedecked with the heraldry of the De Roos family of Helmsley Castle
The area was later used to test the D-Day landing vehicles, and was visited by Winston Churchill.
It costs about £3 for entry and it is very lovely.
Hauntingly beautiful place, never one to be overrun with tourists but if you manage to visit on a quiet day it really is a spectacular place to spend a few hours. An ideal place for a picnic and to wander around, there are benches to sit on near the river and there is a toilet provided. Not open in winter.
A beautiful place, mostly now in ruins. It's very peaceful as it's off most tourists' itineries. Entry costs just £3. A great place to spend a few hours on a fine day. Take a picnic and make a day out of it. Children will love playing (supervised) among the ruins.
Alternatively there is a lovely tearooms in the village which does home-made cakes and meals. If I remember rightly it's shut on a Monday though.
The surrounding area is a lovely place to go for a walk. There is a public footpath which ges past the abbey, along a river.
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