Monasteries in United Kingdom

Rushen Abbey

Originally home for monks of the Savignac order, Rushen Abbey soon came under Cistercian control and remained so until its dissolution. The abbey is located two miles from Castle Rushen, the politically most important site on the island in medieval times. The abbey was founded in 1134, under Óláfr Guðrøðarson's control. He granted the land to Savignac monks from Furness Abbey. In 1147 the abbey came under ...
Founded: 1134 | Location: Ballasalla, United Kingdom

Clonard Monastery

Clonard Monastery was developed by the Catholic Redemptorists religious order. Members of this religious order came to Belfast originally in 1896. They initially built a small tin church in the grounds of Clonard House in 1897. In 1890 a monastery was opened in these grounds and in 1911 the Church of the Holy Redeemer opened in the grounds and replaced the tin church. Clonard is also used as a music venue for many ...
Founded: 1890 | Location: Belfast, United Kingdom

Bonamargy Friary

Bonamargy Friary is a late Franciscan foundation established in 1485 by Rory MacQuillan. It is said that the first battle between the warring MacDonnell and MacQuillan clans was fought on nearby land. At the main entrance to the friary is a small, two storey gatehouse which opens into a store and workroom. Well worn steps lead directly to the dormitory above. Traces of an altar can still be found in the adjoining chu ...
Founded: 1485 | Location: Ballycastle, United Kingdom

Glenarm Friary

In the early fifteenth century, Franciscan Third Order Regular communities began to be established in Ireland. In 1445 the archdeacon of Connor was sent a mandate by Pope Eugenius VI, authorising him to establish a Franciscan Third Order Regular friary in his diocese. A 1580 map of the County Antrim coastline shows the friary at ‘Glanarme’ on the other side of the river from the castle. It was probably closed by the ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Glenarm, United Kingdom

Bangor Abbey Church

Bangor Abbey was established by Saint Comgall in 558 and was famous for its learning and austere rule. Bangor Abbey is regarded as one of the most important of the early Northern Irish monastic sites, second only to Armagh. Within the extensive rampart which encircled its monastic buildings, students studied scripture, theology, logic, geometry, arithmetic, music, and the classics. Bangor was a major center of learni ...
Founded: 558 AD | Location: Bangor, United Kingdom

Grey Abbey

Grey Abbey is a ruined Cistercian priory in the village of Greyabbey. It was founded in 1193, by John de Courcy"s wife, Affreca (daughter of Godred Olafsson, King of the Isles), as a daughter house of Holmcultram Abbey in Cumbria. It had declined by the late Middle Ages and was dissolved in 1541. It was burnt out by Brian O"Neill in 1572. It was granted to Sir Hugh Montgomery who re-roofed the ...
Founded: 1193 | Location: Greyabbey, United Kingdom

Holywood Priory

Holywood Priory was founded by St. Laiseran before 640 on the site of the present ruins of the medieval Old Priory. The present ruins are 12th century Anglo-Norman Augustinian Abbey built by Thomas Whyte and much of these ruins remain. After the Black death (1348-1350) Niall O’Neill refurbished the church for the Franciscan Order. The Priory was dissolved on New Years Day, 1541, by Henry VIII with its lands passing ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Holywood, United Kingdom

Inch Abbey

Inch Abbey is a large, ruined monastic site north-west of Downpatrick. The site was originally on an island in the Quoile Marshes. The pre-Norman Celtic monastic settlement here was in existence by the year 800. In 1002 it was plundered by the Vikings. The Vikings plundered the settlement again in 1149. Its large earthwork enclosure has been traced from aerial photographs. On the ground, the early bank and ditch ca ...
Founded: 1180 | Location: Downpatrick, United Kingdom

Movilla Abbey

Movilla Abbey is believed to have been one of Ulster"s and Ireland"s most important monasteries. It was founded in 540 by St. Finnian (d. 579) under the patronage of the king of the Dál Fiatach. It survived as a place of Christian witness for over a thousand years, until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1542. The name Movilla is an Anglicized form of the Irish magh bile, which means “the plain ...
Founded: 540 AD | Location: Newtownards, United Kingdom

Nendrum Monastery

Nendrum Monastery may have been founded in the 5th century, but this is uncertain. The monastery came to an end at some time between 974 and 1178, but its church served a parish until the site was abandoned in the 15th century. Some remains of the monastery can still be seen. Dendrochronology has dated a tide mill on the island to the year 619, making this the oldest excavated tide mill anywhere in the world. The mona ...
Founded: 7th century AD | Location: Comber, United Kingdom

Newtownards Priory

Newtownards Priory was a medieval Dominican priory founded by the Savage family around 1244. Only the lower parts of the nave and two blocked doors in the south wall leading to a demolished cloister, survive from the period of the priory"s foundation. The upper parts of the nave date from a 14th-century rebuilding and the western extension and the north aisle arcade were undertaken by the de Burgh family. The pr ...
Founded: 1244 | Location: Newtownards, United Kingdom

Devenish Monastic Site

Devenish Island contains one of the finest monastic sites in Northern Ireland. A round tower thought to date from the twelfth century is situated on the island, as are the walls of the Oratory of Saint Molaise who established the monastery in the 6th century, on a pilgrim route to Croagh Patrick in County Mayo. It became a centre of scholarship and although raided by Vikings in 837 and burned in 1157, it late ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Devenish, United Kingdom

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Ananuri Castle

Ananuri was a castle and seat of the eristavis (Dukes) of Aragvi, a feudal dynasty which ruled the area from the 13th century. The castle was the scene of numerous battles. The current ensemble dates from the 16th and 17th centuries.

In 1739, Ananuri was attacked by forces from a rival duchy, commanded by Shanshe of Ksani and was set on fire. The Aragvi clan was massacred. However, four years later, the local peasants revolted against rule by the Shamshe, killing the usurpers and inviting King Teimuraz II to rule directly over them. However, in 1746, King Teimuraz was forced to suppress another peasant uprising, with the help of King Erekle II of Kakheti. The fortress remained in use until the beginning of the 19th century. In 2007, the complex has been on the tentative list for inclusion into the UNESCO World Heritage Site program.

Architecture

The fortifications consist of two castles joined by a crenellated curtain wall. The upper fortification with a large square tower, known as Sheupovari, is well preserved and is the location of the last defense of the Aragvi against the Shamshe. The lower fortification, with a round tower, is mostly in ruins.

Within the complex, amongst other buildings, are two churches. The older Church of the Virgin, which abuts a tall square tower, has the graves of some of the Dukes of Aragvi. It dates from the first half of the 17th century, and was built of brick. The interior is no longer decorated, but of interest is a stone baldaquin erected by the widow of the Duke Edishera, who died in 1674.

The larger Church of the Mother of God (Ghvtismshobeli), built in 1689 for the son of Duke Bardzem. It is a central dome style structure with richly decorated façades, including a carved north entrance and a carved grapevine crosson the south façade. It also contains the remains of a number of frescoes, most of which were destroyed by the fire in the 18th century.