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Tours > Robin Hood's Nottingham > Rufford Abbey

Rufford Abbey
Rufford Country Park, off the A614 south of Ollerton (645648)

Rufford Abbey Rufford was a small Cistercian Abbey founded, in 1147, by the Earl of Lincoln, Gilbert de Gant, in order to impress his father-in-law and circumnavigate his recent excommunication. It was never a rich abbey and the monks were therefore keen to make new land acquisitions in order to sustain them. This, along with their subsequent exploitation of the forest and the local villagers, made them very unpopular in the area. Between 1262 & 87, the monks are recorded to have felled some 7,000 oaks and 1,000 saplings to clear forestland for farming. Such actions, no doubt, made them amongst the ecclesiastical targets whom Robin Hood and his men sought out in the Greenwood. However, by the early 14th century, the monks themselves seem to have been following his example. For, in 1317, two of them were charged with highway robbery!

At the Dissolution, Rufford was turned into a popular Hunting Lodge for the Earls of Shrewsbury. After the Civil War, it became the main residence of the Lords Savile, but by 1956 it had become ruinous and was partly demolished. It is now the centre-piece of a Country Park with lots to explore including craft shops, information centre, restaurant, mill and ice house. The vaulted refectory and other remains of the old abbey are preserved under the care of English Heritage and well worth a visit.

Next Stop: Wellow Church, near Ollerton

Click to review The History of Robin Hood

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