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Medieval artefacts from Rievaulx Abbey ruins on display

Medieval chess pieces are among the artefacts on display at the new visitor centre at Rievaulx Abbey Credit: ITV

Medieval artefacts giving an insight into life at the region's first Cistercian abbey have gone on display in North Yorkshire.

The previously unseen items, which include stone carvings, chess pieces and gold coins, were discovered among the ruins at Rievaulx Abbey, near Helmsley more than a century ago.

After an investment of £1.8million from English Heritage, the treasures which survived Henry VIII's suppression of the monasteries in the mid-16th Century, are now on show in a new visitor centre at the site.

Dr Michael Carter, Senior Properties Historian for English Heritage said:

We have been able to show the importance of religious life here and how the art and architecture of the monastery developed over 400 years and to illustrate key aspects of life within the monastery.

– Dr Michael Carter, Senior Properties Historian for English Heritage
Fragments from a medieval stained glass window at Rievaulx Abbey Credit: ITV

Rievaulx Abbey was one of Britain's biggest monasteries before King Henry VIII broke away from the Catholic Church in Rome and dissolved England's monasteries between 1536 and 1541, leaving hundreds of Catholic monasteries, priories, convents and friaries in ruins.

Speaking about the investment in the new museum and visitor centre, English Heritage's Historic Properties Director for the North, Liz Page said:

We really wanted to give this site the significance it deserves and do what we felt we had to - display the objects that tell the story and to create a visitor centre that gives a real sense of place.

– Liz Page, English Heritage
Rievaulx Abbey, near Helmsley, in North Yorkshire Credit: ITV