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Roche Abbey Rotherham Yorkshire
Roche Abbey is situated in the valley of the Maltby Beck. The site was enclosed by steep limestone cliffs and bordered on Bruneswald, later known as Sherwood Forest. This was a choice location for the monks: it provided privacy and solitude, as well as vital natural resources - water, woodland and stone.
This Cistercian monastery was founded in 1147 when the stone buildings were raised on the north side of the beck. When the monks first arrived in South Yorkshire from Newminster Abbey in Northumberland, they chose the most suitable side of the stream that runs through the valley, on which to build their new monastery. Twenty-five years later, at the end of the century, the Norman Gothic great church had been finished, as well as most of the other buildings.
By the time of the dissolution full control of Roche Abbey was held by Henry Clifford, 2nd Earl of Cumberland, who came in for numerous grants at the Dissolution as he was married to the niece of King Henry VIII.
After the dissolution the abbey was left in ruin in ruin and the land passed through many private hands until the 4th Earl of Scarbrough decided it needed revitalising to enhance his adjoining family seat at Sandbeck Park. Lord Scarborough enlisted the talents of Capability Brown. Brown demolished buildings, built large earth mounds and turfed the whole site. Until the end of the 19th century Roche Abbey remained buried beneath Brown's work and wooded parkland. But subsequent excavation in the 1920s returned Roche to its former splendour
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