May 2017(b): Ellerton Priory


Historic Environment Record: MYD34854

Parish: Ellerton Abbey

OS Grid Reference: SE079973

Dale: Swaledale

Out of Oblivion:

Access: Please note that there is no public access to Ellerton Priory. It is visible from the roadside, but the road can be dangerous so please take care.


Ellerton Priory was a small house of Cistercian nuns, founded in the reign of Henry II (1154-89) by Warner, steward of the Earls of Richmond. It was always a small, poorly endowed house, and it was thought that there were only 13 nuns there at the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Today the nunnery mainly survives as earthworks, however there are upstanding remains of the priory church.


The priory church is believed to date from the fifteenth century, perhaps earlier. The church survives as a ruin: a narrow, aisle-less nave and choir, with west tower. The north and east walls of the nave and choir are partially standing, of varied height between 1 and 3 metres. The tower of the Priory church appears to have been rebuilt as a romantic ruin sometime during the 19th century. Further consolidation work to the church was undertaken by the YDNPA in 1996.


The church is surrounded by indistinct earthworks but a geophysical survey has traced the details of the cloister and other buildings. A grand country house or shooting lodge was built nearby in 1830 and named ‘Ellerton Abbey’.


It is designated as a Scheduled Monument.

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