On Easter Monday I wasn’t sure whether I should take you on a little local walk, or something more grand. Well, Gisborough Priory was once very grand indeed. Now just a ruin, it nevertheless sits at the heart of one of North Yorkshire’s finest market towns, Guisborough.
English being the funny old language that it is, Guisborough town is spelt with a ‘u’, but Gisborough Priory and nearby Gisborough Hall are spelt without. You can check the Wikipedia links for the where’s and why for’s later, but it’s time to grab your coat, and off we go.
From the car park, at the back of Westgate, turn right down Bow St. The houses are an appealing mix of stone and whitewash. In gentle sunshine, a magnolia unfurls. Just before the railway bridge, a series of steps lead up to a footpath. If you turn left, it crosses over the bridge. The railway is long gone but it makes a pleasant enough path around the back of Guisborough.
You can turn right and head for the forest, but beware! You never know what creatures are lurking in these woods. It’s ok though- most of them are friendly.
But today we’ll take the shorter route. Choose the junction to the left, signed Cleveland Street Trail, and follow the path. You will cross an open field and might have a friendly encounter with a sheep or two. A frisky herd of horses live at the top of the field. Normally they’ll just keep an eye on you. Don’t panic if they come to investigate.
Not this grand entry for you, though! Tradesman’s entrance! A few yards to the left, a more modest footpath skirts the boundaries and takes you along the Monk’s Walk, through the woods.
There’s not much to it, when you get up close. Gisborough Priory is a ruined Augustinian priory. It was founded in 1119 as the Priory of St. Mary by Robert de Brus, an ancestor of the Scottish king, Robert the Bruce, and became one of the richest monastic foundations in England. In 1289 a fire destroyed much of the Romanesque Norman priory, but it was rebuilt in yet grander style.
The priory was prosperous until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1540. At this time it was demolished and the stone re-used in other buildings in Guisborough. The east end of the church was left standing- a rather romantic image.
If you are interested in the history there is a quite substantial amount of it in Wikipedia. Also on the site are fragments of the lower courses of the west range, a vaulted undercroft, a gateway and a 14th century dovecote, along with the Priory gardens.
Gisborough Priory is an English Heritage site and instructions on getting here are contained in the link. There’s also the cutest ‘Brother Ted Bear’ for sale but I warn you, he doesn’t come cheap. Nor does the parking in the main town car park. You can also walk from nearby Pinchinthorpe through the Guisborough Forest into town if you’re feeling energetic.
In Guisborough centre you will find a number of tearooms- mostly hidden around corners, so poke about a bit. A more substantial meal can be had in several of the pubs on the main street.
So there you are. I hope you have a lovely day! If you would like to join in with Jo’s Monday walk, it’s simple enough. You can link a post back to me, or you can simply leave a link to a walk you like in my comments below. It can be as elaborate or as simple as you like, and you can join in any day of the week. I just like to see where you’ve been. Nosy, I guess. Happy walking!
First up, Yvette’s taking us to Richmond, VA :
Then Amy- avoiding the snakes, I hope! :
And Dale, having fun in the sun :