Roche Abbey is one of many ruined abbeys of Yorkshire. Just like the others, it was founded after William the Conqueror invaded England and it was eventually closed during the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 16th century.
Roche Abbey is located close to Maltby, around 9 mi from Rotherham and Doncaster. By public transportation, Maltby can be reached with buses 1 and 20 (there is then a 1/2 mi walk to the abbey). The site is managed by English Heritage. Full-price admission £4.50, the abbey is closed in winter (website).
Roche Abbey was founded in 1147 by Cistercian monks. Due to its proximity with the Forest of Sherwood, there is a legend saying that Robin Hood would come there to attend the mass. After the Dissolution, the abbey was closed and it fell into ruin, especially because locals reused its stones. Only the transepts were partly spared.
The remains soon became a curiosity for locals and visitors. The Earls of Scarbrough, who reside at nearby Stanbeck Park (closed to the public), thought the ruins were very romantic and beautiful. They extended their park so it included them. They even asked Capability Brown to landscape the surroundings.
Nowadays, visitors can still wander around the remains of the abbey and see a part of Brown’s design. Most of the elements of the abbey survive even though it is not the most preserved in Yorkshire. There are traces of the cloister, refectory and sewers, and the gracious remains of the transepts are a gorgeous sight. Although you need to buy a ticket to walk around the ruins, a (free) public footpath runs close to them.
Around Roche Abbey: