Bolton Abbey


Having finally received delivery of our new Electric Car, Drusilla the E-Niro, we wanted to take her out for a drive. After some deliberation, we decided on Bolton Abbey, a place that both of us had been in our childhood but never together.

We started out with lunch at The Devonshire Arms’ Brasserie and Bar, where we found we could charge Drusilla for free on a slow 7kwh charger. We didn’t need to but thought we would see how it all worked.

We had arrived earlier than expected but were shown to our table and handed menus. It was disappointing to find that the menu was not nearly as extensive as the sample menu I had viewed online had been and there were few vegan and vegetarian options. The staff were very accommodating though and we all found something to our taste eventually and the food was amazing. If you have any dietary requirements I would highly recommend letting them know in advance.

After lunch we left the car in our allotted car park which we had booked and paid for in advance (via a little detour into the countryside as we missed our turning), then headed off to find the ruins.

There is an abundance of things to do at Bolton Abbey, from sitting in a cafe and admiring the view to hikes up to beautiful waterfalls. Today we just went to have a look at the priory and ruins.

The ruined East End of the Priory

The history of the Priory dates back to around 1120 when a group of Augustinian canons set up a small religious community in Embasy, a small village just outside Skipton. In 1154 Lady Alice de Rumilly of Skipton Castle gave them the land in Bolton overlooking the River Wharfe where they proceeded to build the prior. Here the canons would live and work, gaining in reputation and receiving donations to help with the construction of the priory. The monks lived and prospered until the Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539 when work on a great West Tower which had been started in 1520 had to be abandoned, the priory was stripped of any valuable items and the estate sold to the Clifford family and would later pass on to the Duke of Devonshire.

Bolton Abbey was not to meet the fate of most English monasteries though, and, being the only church in the area, was allowed to continue as a Parish Church with new Protestant clergy. The western part of the prior remains in use as a church today, and in fact a wedding had taken place just before our arrival.

Sunlight streaming through Pugin’s Stained Glass windows.

The priory has seen many ups and downs during its long history, stained glass windows were installed in 1851 by Pugin and a major restoration by architect George Street took place in 1857. Another restoration took places from 1982 to 1985 instigated by Canon Maurice Slaughter, which included finally completing the West Tower.

We spent around an hour wandering around the ruins and waiting for the wedding party to leave so we could have peek inside the church, where we rewarded with the glorious sight of the sun streaming through the stained glass windows leaving coloured patterns on the walls.

Freddie Trueman’s gravestone at Bolton Abbey

Before leaving we took a stroll around the adjoining graveyard to find the resting place of Freddie Trueman a childhood hero of my father’s. With a little effort and just as I was about to give up the search we spotted it, laden with flowers and took the time to pay our respects.

A selection of the pictures in the gallery are available to purchase as canvas or giclee prints and also as single use licences for commercial or advertising use at my shop Cider Prints. If there any any pictures here that you would like to purchase that are not available in the shop please let me know and I will add them to the shop.


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