• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

What factors led Furness Abbey to become the second richest Cistercian Abbey in England?

Extracts from this document...


What factors led Furness Abbey to become the second richest Cistercian Abbey in England? Richard Smith 4? In 1123 twelve monks travelled from France to the North of England with the intention of spreading their order. They settled first in Tulketh where they remained for four years. Then, in 1127, Count Stephen, the future King Stephen, gave them some land in the valley of Beckansgill. This is where the ruins of the abbey now remain. Being in a valley this already qualified as a better site than their previous settlement at Tulketh There were other reasons for the sites suitability as well as this. The valley was lined with red sandstone giving them a strong and easily accessible building material, which was also very close to the site. Another vital asset to the valley was that it had a stream running through it to provide fresh water for the abbey. There were many trees in and around the valley, which would have been able to be used as another building material, for fuel, scaffolding (while the building work was taking place), fencing and shelter. Also the site itself was generally better than Tulketh. For example, it was far bigger. ...read more.


Now the abbey had more land than it needs to build on, this 'good work land' (as it was known) was used to bring income into the abbey. The lay monks (of which there were around 500) were very good farmers and the land given to them was especially conducive to one particular type of framing: sheep farming. This brought in a lot of money to the abbey; through the sale of sheep and the abbey's main produce wool. The lay monks were not stationed at Furness; many lived on granges (the old English for farm) near to their work. This is one of the reasons why the abbey's farming was so successful, because each lay monk was concentrating on his own little job. (The main lay monk Headquarters was at Hawkshead.) The lay monks not only farmed sheep and kept animals, but also one or two arable farms were set up on what flat land they had. The best example of this is Walney Island. It was used as a huge crop growing area by the abbey. Also, the lay monks had some cattle, pig and fish farms around the county. Much of this produce was sold at Dalton Market. ...read more.


This allowed carts to be driven over to Walney (which was very important because of the crop farms there) and is a good example of the lay monks building sea defences. The most important reason for the abbey becoming one of the richest Cistercian Abbeys in England was probably the belief that giving money to the church was good for the sole. If this had not been common (i.e. rich people giving land to the church) most of the abbey's land would not have been the abbey's. This is also linked to all the abbey's income. For example, if the abbey had not been given all the land they used for sheep framing then the profits from that would not have existed. Most of their trading would not have taken place, thus diminishing their financial growth. I also think the other big reason for the abbey's power was the site itself. Being in a valley it was quite hard to attack. This had allowed it to remain (more or less untouched) for many years and therefore allowed it to grow and expand. However, this is again linked to the belief that people had about 'good works'. For this reason I think that the religious beliefs people had was the main factor in the abbey becoming one of the richest abbeys of its order in the country. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE History Projects section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE History Projects essays

  1. Castles, the key to power in Medieval England

    Many towns and villages grew rapidly under the protection of castles. Such new settlements were usually encouraged by the Lord, the villagers, men and women provided a labour force to work in the fields, while their sons and daughters would be useful in the castle as servants.

  2. Did England become Protestant in the sixteenth century?

    So now the Pope wasn't the head. Also this was a good idea so he could make more money from the taxes and own more land because he was the head of the Church of England. This gave him more power.

  1. Fountains Abbey Coursework

    The Folley a man made hill. It was used to put a Motte and Bailey castle on it. Although it was man-made, it was made to look natural. This is because one of the fashions of landscape gardening was to make things look natural.

  2. What led to the schism of 1054?

    190 and 194, when Victor, bishop of Rome branded as heretics those who held to the Eastern tradition, and threatened to excommunicate them. He believed that Rome had the authority to make such a demand, but the Eastern churches did not, and they refused to submit and the difference continued.

  1. The Valley of the Kings

    The reason being is because when the Pharaoh died; a new tomb would be constructed and thus creating new job opportunities (Tour Egypt, 1999) TOMB ROBBERY Determined tomb robbers, driven by greed, plundered all the tombs in the Valley except Tutankhamen's.

  2. The year was 1912 when the Titanic set sail from Southampton, England on Wednesday ...

    much confidence in the wisdom of this world with all its proud boasts instead of looking to the One who rules over all history. At around 11pm on the night of 14th April, the lookouts rang the warning gong and phoned the bridge to report "object dead ahead".

  1. 1. Stourbridge Fair was the greatest of and most celebrated fairs of all England. ...

    The two sources are almost 150 years apart yet they both state that Stourbridge Fair was the greatest of all fairs and this is significant evidence. Although, one of the sources is an opinion from one individual, the fact that two recorded pieces of evidence separated by such a long


    There were positive and negative results. For example the security forces in N. Ireland were authorized to arrest and hold anyone suspected of terrorism and undercover operations which helped to find out what the IRA were up to which made it difficult for the IRA to setup terrorist attacks.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work