Abbey will be illuminated at night as chants would have it

FOUNTAINS Abbey is set to be shown in a very different light from this weekend as an 80-year-old tradition at the historic ruins continues.

The tradition of illuminating Fountains Abbey was started by Commander and Lady Vyner in 1932 to commemorate the 800th anniversary of the founding of the Abbey.

Since then, the National Trust has continued to light up the ruins every autumn.

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Now from every Saturday evening until October 22, visitors to the World Heritage Site, near Ripon, will be able to explore the atmospheric ruins of the abbey and listen to Gregorian chant resounding through the grounds until 10pm.

This year, choirs lined up to sing in the vaulted abbey cellarium, include the Easingwold School Choir and the York City Gospel Choir.

Operations manager Roy Phillips, said: “I saw the abbey floodlit for the first time last year and was totally amazed.

“It feels like a different place when darkness falls and the lights are switched on.

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“As you wander through the ruins you really get a sense of the peace and tranquillity the monks must have felt when they lived here. Fountains Abbey illuminated at night is a real must see.”

Fountains Abbey, Kirkstall Abbey, near Leeds, and Roche Abbey, near Doncaster, were founded between 1132 and 1150, and formed the hub of Cistercian life in Britain.

Last admission to the grounds is 9pm and the estate will close at 10pm. For further information, call 01765 608888.