Postcards from readers: Dear abbey

The photographer: Carroll Schroeder of Davis

Behind the lens: Fountains Abbey in North Yorkshire, dating from 1132, was once one of England’s most prosperous abbeys. With the split of the Church of England from the Roman Church in the 1500s, lands belonging to monastic orders were confiscated by the crown and either kept by the king, or gifted or sold to loyal gentry. Abbey buildings were deconstructed and their stones used to build the stately homes that dot the English countryside, in this case Fountains Hall. Located just outside the town of Ripon, the grounds and ruins of Fountains Abbey conspire to be ethereal. I took this picture on an overcast afternoon in October 2011 during a visit with friends who live in the nearby village of Kirkby Malzeard. The village dates from sometime before 1086, the publication date of the Domesday Book in which it is mentioned: “Chirchebi,” that is Kirkby, which I am told means “church village,” with the Norman suffix Malzeard, meaning “bad clearing,” added later.

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