The English Cistercian houses, of which there are remains at Fountains, Rievaulx Kirkstall,Tintern and Netley were mainly arranged after the same plan, with slight local variations. As an example, below is the groundplan of Kirkstall Abbey, one of the best preserved.
The Kirkstall Brewery Co Ltd was registered in 1871, and by 1898 the brewery was producing around 72,000 barrels of beer a year. The beer was sold in Leeds, Yorkshire and beyond.
In 1936 Dutton’s Blackburn Brewery Ltd purchased Kirkstall Brewery Co Ltd. and its subsidiaries, Albion Brewery (Leeds) Ltd and Willow Brewery Co. Ltd.
In 1938 the Company was renamed Dutton’s Lancashire & Yorkshire Brewery Corporation Ltd.
Duttons in turn was bought by Whitbread in 1957. Kirkstall Brewery was re-equipped, and the production of bitter and mild went up to quarter of a million barrels a year. The brewery was closed in 1983, bringing to an end a 150-year tradition of brewing in the Kirkstall Valley.
Henry de Lacy (1070, Halton, – 1123), Lord of the manor of Pontefract, 2nd Lord of Bowland, promised to dedicate an abbey to the Virgin Mary should he survive a serious illness. He recovered and agreed to give the Abbot of Fountains Abbey land at Barnoldswick in Lancashire on which to found a daughter abbey. Abbot Alexander with twelve Cistercian monks from Fountains went to Barnoldswick and after demolishing the existing church attempted to build the abbey on Henry de Lacy's land. They stayed for six years but found the place inhospitable. Abbot Alexander set about finding a more suitable place for the abbey and came across a site in the heavily wooded Aire Valley occupied by hermits
Alexander sought help from de Lacy who was sympathetic and helped acquire the land from William de Poitou. The monks moved from Barnoldswick to Kirkstall displacing the hermits, some of whom joined the abbey, the rest being paid to move. The buildings were mostly completed between 1152 when the monks arrived in Kirkstall and the end of Alexander's abbacy in 1182. Millstone Grit for building came from Bramley Fall on the opposite side of the river
Kirkstall Abbey is a ruined Cistercian monastery in Kirkstall north-west of Leeds city centre in West Yorkshire. It is set in a public park on the north bank of the River Aire. It was founded c.1152. It was disestablished during the Dissolution of the Monasteries under the auspices of Henry VIII.
The picturesque ruins have been drawn and painted by artists such as J.M.W. Turner,Thomas Girtin and John Sell Cotman.
Kirkstall Abbey was acquired by Leeds Corporation as a gift from Colonel North and opened to the public in the late 19th century. The gatehouse became a museum.
On 22 November 1539 the abbey was surrendered to Henry VIII's commissioners in the Dissolution of the monasteries. In 1671 it passed into the hands of the Brudenell family, Earls of Cardigan. Much of the stone was removed for re-use in other buildings in the area, including the steps leading to Leeds Bridge.
The church is of the Cistercian type, with a short chancel, and transepts with three eastward chapels to each, divided by solid walls. The building is plain, the windows are unornamented, and the nave has no triforium. The cloister to the south occupies the whole length of the nave. On the east side stands the two-aisled chapter-house between which and the south transept is a small sacristy, and on the other side two small apartments, one of which was probably the parlour). Beyond this is the calefactory or day-room of the monks. Above this whole range of building runs the monks' dormitory, opening by stairs into the south transept of the church.
Kirkstall power station was a coal fired unit opened in 1931, serving the city of Leeds, West Yorkshire
It was situated by the River Aire north west of Leeds and had its own wharf for delivery of coal via the Leeds and Liverpool Canal
The station was converted to oil firing but closed in 1976. The power station has now been demolished.
On the south side of the cloister (5) there are the remains of the old refectory, running, as in Benedictine houses, from east to west, and the new refectory (12), which, with the increase of the inmates of the house, superseded it, stretching, as is usual in Cistercian houses, from north to south. Adjacent to this apartment are the remains of the kitchen, pantry and buttery. The arches of the lavatory are to be seen near the refectory entrance. The western side of the cloister is occupied by vaulted cellars, supporting on the upper story the dormitory of the lay brothers.
Kirkstall Brewery stood empty and unused for several years until it was given a new lease of life in the late 1990s with an ambitious project to create Kirkstall Brewery Student Village. This project was undertaken by Leeds Metropolitan University. The development provides accommodation for over 1,000 students. Other facilities include the Students' Union bar, a cafe, a shop, a gymnasium, an events hall, pool/snooker room, laundry and car parking facilities for a small number of vehicles.
The wharf used to unload coal is now a Marina for canal and pleasureboats. None of the structure remains, with the majority of the power station site covered by a secure caravan storage depot, golf course and artificial football pitches with the rest of the site now forming part of the Kirkstall Valley Nature Reserve The major substations adjacent to the former power station and supplying electrical power to much of Burley, Kirkstall, Armley and Bramley still remain.During the 18th century the picturesque ruins attracted artists of the Romantic movement and were painted by artists including J. M. W. Turner, John Sell Cotman and Thomas Girtin. In 1889 the abbey was sold to Colonel John North, who presented it to Leeds City Council. The Council undertook a major restoration project and the abbey was opened to the public in 1895.
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