kirkstall abbey


Historical accounts tell of a twelfth century hermit (named Seleth) who dreamed that Our Lady had directed him to journey from his native locality in the south of England to the ‘vicinity of York’ to ‘a wooded and shady valley called Airedale’. There he was to look for ‘a certain place called Kirkstall’ where he would find a suitable place to settle and to ‘make ready a future habitation for brethren who serve my Son’.
Quite soon several other hermits joined him in the location that he was sure was the one Our Lady wanted, on the banks of the River Aire.
Not long afterwards Cistercian monks who were seeking a site to establish a new monastery came upon the hermitage and with the cooperation of the hermits, some of whom became Cistercians, founded the Kirkstall Abbey (in 1152).
This remained an active community until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the time of King Henry VIII (1540).

The Abbey Seal was discovered in recent times and has been copied as the logo for the weekly Bulletin of the constituent churches of the new Parish.

The patronage of Our Lady of Kirkstall is honoured and her intercession sought in the following poem written by one of the members of our Parish:

Our Lady of Kirkstall - A prayer for the Parish Formation (click here)