In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Bolton Abbey like this:
BOLTON-ABBEY, or East Bolton, a township chapelry in Skipton parish, W. R. Yorkshire; on the river Wharfe, 6 miles ENE of Skipton r. station. It includes the hamlet of Bolton-Bridge; which has a post office under Skipton. Acres, 3,995. Real property, £1,816. Pop., 112. Houses, 23. The property is not much divided. The manor belongs to the Duke of Devonshire; and came to him from the Burlingtons. The scenery is picturesque; and includes soft reaches of valley, undulating slopes, precipitous cliffs, hangingwoods, and the wild chasm of the Strid, overhung by the mountains of Simon's Seat and Barden Fell. ...
An Augustinian priory was founded at Embsay, in 1121, by William de Meschines; and removed, 33 years afterwards, to the banks of the Wharfe here, by his lady, to commemorate the loss of their heir at the Strid. The story of its refounding is sung by Wordsworth in his "Force of Prayer" and "White Doe of Rylstone," and by Rogers in the "Boy of Egremond." The priory was given, at the dissolution, to Henry Clifford, Earl of Cumberland; and passed from his family in 1635, to the Burlingtons. Much of the original building, together with additions, in decorated and perpendicular English, is standing in a state of ruin; and the nave serves as the present church, contains monuments of Lady Margaret Neville, Lord Clifford, and Prior Marsden, and was repaired in 1859.
In the shattered fabric's heart,
Remaineth one protected part,
A rural chapel neatly dressed
In covert like a little nest.
Bolton Park, originally a gatehouse of the priory, is an occasional seat of the Duke of Devonshire. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Ripon. Value, £111.* Patron, the Duke of Devonshire. There is a school with endowed income of £104. See Strid (The).
A Vision of Britain through Time includes a large library of local statistics for administrative units. For the best overall sense of how the area containing Bolton Abbey has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of Craven. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering Bolton Abbey and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Bolton Abbey, in Craven and West Riding | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 23rd September 2014
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