BYLAND, (and Byland Abbey) in the parish of Coxwold, and wapentake of Birdforth; 1¼ miles NE of Coxwold, 5 miles SW. of Helmsley. Population, 372.Here are the remains of the magnificent Abbey of Byland, situated in a rich valley, separated from Rivaulx, by the hilly ridge of Hambleton.
Gerald, the Abbot, with twelve Monks from Furness, in Lancashire, having been disturbed by the incursions of the Scots, fled to York, and afterwards was entertained some time as the castle of Thirsk, by Roger de Mowbray, who gave him the church and town of Byland, near which the Abbot and the Monks founded a monastery, and a noble cathedral, about the year 1177, which flourished till the general dissolution. It was surrendered in the year 1540, by the John Leeds, the last Abbot and twenty-four monks, when its yearly revenues amounted to £238. 9s. 4d. The scite was granted to Sir William Pickering, Knight. -Willis.
It would seem from Speed, that Roger de Mowbray originally founded this monastery at Hode, (Hood Grange,) in 1134, and at the instance of his mother, in 1143, removed it to a part of her jointure near the river Rye, at Byland, opposite to the Abbey of Rivaulx, since called Old Byland, which place being thought inconvenient for Religious, four years afterwards they removed to Stoking, near Coxwold; and at last fixed, a little more easterly, near Whitaker, where it continued in a flourishing state till the general dissolution.
This Abbey was situated near the foot of Cambe Hill, in a place well suited to devotional retirement, and was a large and magnificent structure; the site is in the possession of the Stappleton family. In the summer of 1818, Martin Stapylton, Esq. of Myton Hall, by whose family the property is now possessed, caused a quantity of rubbish to be removed from the South side of the ruin, when a stone coffin with the bones entire was discovered here, and conveyed to Myton; and tradition says they are the remains of Roger de Mowbray; there also was discovered some beautiful Roman pavement, in high preservation.
[Description(s) edited mainly from various 19th century sources by Colin Hinson. ©2010]