Dore Abbey

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Dore Abbey is a former Cistercian abbey in the village of Abbey Dore in the Golden Valley, Herefordshire, England. A large part of the original mediaeval building has been used since the 16th century as the parish church, with remaining parts either now ruined or no longer extant.

History

The abbey was founded in 1147 by Robert fitzHarold of Ewyas, the Lord of Ewyas Harold, possibly on the site of earlier wooden monastic buildings of which no traces remain. The abbey is located close to the River Dore. It was formed as a daughter house of the Cistercian abbey at Morimond, perhaps after Lord Robert had met the Abbot of Morimond on the Second Crusade. Construction of buildings in local sandstone began around 1175, and continued through the time of the first three abbots, Adam (1186-c.1216), Adam II (c.1216-1236), and Stephen of Worcester (1236-1257). The design of the church was modelled on that of Morimond, with a presbytery, two chapels, two transepts, a crossing and a nave.[1]

Gerald of Wales claimed that the first Abbot Adam was a devious individual intent on acquiring property by any means, fair or foul.[2] During the early 13th century, the abbey expanded its land holdings, particularly through the acquisition of good quality farmland in the area granted to them by King John in 1216. This enabled the abbey to become wealthy, especially through the sale of wool, and as a result the abbey was largely rebuilt in the Early English style. The presbytery was expanded, and additional chapels, a processional ambulatory, and domestic buildings including a chapter house were added. In 1260, the abbey was described as a "sumptuous church". The new building was consecrated by Thomas de Cantilupe, Bishop of Hereford, in 1282, and was dedicated to the Holy Trinity and Saint Mary. Around 1305, Richard Straddell (d.1346) became Abbot. He was a distinguished scholar and theologian who at times served as a diplomat for the crown. In 1321 he was given a relic of the Holy Cross by William de Gradisson, and the abbey became a centre of pilgrimage.[1]

Large parts of the 12th and 13th century buildings, including the north and south transepts and the interior columns, together with some tiles, wooden fittings and fragments of stained glass, remain in place today, incorporated into the later church. The building also houses two 13th century effigies, thought to be those of a later Lord Robert of Ewyas and his half-brother Roger de Clifford (d.1286), and carved stone roof bosses.[1]

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