Roche Abbey

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Unusual in that the site was gifted to the Cistercian order by two benefactors, Roche was one of the first abbey churches to be built completely in the new Perpendicular Gothic style, and was said to be astonishingly beautiful.

Founded in 1147 building in stone probably began around 30 years later from the adjacent magnesium limestone which was of very fine quality. Indeed Roche stone was so highly prized it was used in the construction of Winsdsor Casle.

Situated over Maltby Beck between the former great forests of Sherwood and Barnsdale the monastry was close to the castles of Tickhill and Conisbrough in what is now South Yorkshire. There is a legend that Robin Hood came to Roche for mass, and indeed the abbey is central to the area recorded in the very early ballards.

The house was originally colonised by monks from Newminster Abbey in Northumberland, which itself was the daughter house of Fountains Abbey, near Ripon, so Roche was itself affiliated to Fountains. The abbey never developed extensive holdings but still played a role in important national affairs.

Surrendered in 1538 during the Dissolution of the Monasteries it was pilaged and ransacked by the local population before it could be dismantled by the King’s commissionaries.