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ROCHE ABBEY

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The remains of Roche Abbey Cistercian monastery, which was founded in 1147 and dissolved in 1538. Although the ground plan is one of the most complete, the only portions of the buildings at Roche to survive to their full height are the east walls of the church transepts amid the adjoining walls of the chancel. The church was constructed between 1147 and circa 1170 and did not undergo a programme of later rebuilding, as is common at many monasteries; consequently, the architecture is all of one style, influenced by that of the Cistercian order's native Burgundy. The church, as was customary, formed the north range of the cloister and the remaining cloister ranges also demonstrate a typical Cistercian layout. The chapter house and monks dormitory were included in the east range, the kitchen and monks' frater occupied the south range, and a cellar and the lay-brothers' accommodation comprised the west range. The west range dates to the 12th century whilst the east and south cloister ranges date to the 13th century. Between the frater and the east range is the warming house. South of a stream is the infirmarer's house, the abbot's kitchen and lodging, and the lay brothers' infirmary. The first and last are 13th century but were altered in the 15th century. The abbot's accommodation dates to the 14th century. The best preserved building at the abbey is the gatehouse which dates to the 14th century and overlies the foundations of an earlier gatehouse. After the Dissolution the remains were incorporated into the grounds of Sandbeck Hall which in 1774, were landscaped by 'Capability' Brown in order to provide a picturesque setting for the ruins. To provide an uniterrupted view of the church transepts, Brown demolished most of the cloister buildings and buried their foundations beneath parterres. These remains were uncovered by partial excavation in the 1870s and by the removal of the parterres after World War I. The site is in the care of English Heritage.

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