or the White Monks, a reformed and
strict Benedictine order.
by a group of monks from Fountains Abbey under the leadership of Abbot
Alexander in 1147 CE. The group originally settled in
Barnoldswick, but things
faltered there--the local villagers were unhappy at being relocated and
in order to situate the abbey. Alexander moved the abbey to its present
site in 1152.
had a rough beginning and that set the tone for
the fortunes of the abbey. The main problem at
Kirkstall was reliable funding, and disputes over who owned what land
at times forced the monks to leave
Kirkstall due to lack of financial support. Also, Kirkstall had a
little trouble with its abbots. Though many were upstanding men,
was forced to resign over rising debts, and two
were and involved in shady local dealings.
Kirkstall Abbey is said to be haunted by the ghost of a former Abbot. (Perhaps the last of Kirkstall's abbots,
John Ripley? He surrendered the abbey to King Henry VIII in 1539
and lived out the rest of his
life in the gatehouse.)
a girdle (a belt) at Kirkstall Abbey belonging to St. Bernard was
thought to be helpful to women in childbirth. Interestingly,
Kirkstall Abbey was not alone in the use of sainted
for this sort of help, St. Alred's girdle at
Rievaulx was also useful during childbirth, as was St. Saviour's girdle
at Newburgh, St.
Mary's girdle at Calder and
Kirkham and Fountains, the girdle of St. Werburga's at St. Werburga's
in Chester, the Duke of
Lancaster's belt at Pontefract, Mary of Nevell's girdle at Coveram, a
necklace at Cumbria, and St. Stephen's