This Day in History: 1152-05-19

On 19th May 1152, Cistercian monks moved from land given to them by Henry (1) de Lacy, lord of Pontefract, at Barnoldswick to a new site at Kirkstall, Leeds. Henry had vowed 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 on which to found a daughter abbey. Abbot Alexander with twelve Cistercian monks from Fountains went to Barnoldswick and attempted to build the abbey on Henry de Lacy’s land. They stayed for six years but found the place inhospitable. 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. The buildings were mostly completed between 1152 when the monks arrived in Kirkstall and the end of Alexander’s abbacy in 1182