Abbey House, Leeds
Date: Saturday 17th November 2018
Abbey House, Leeds, boasts an impressive history which dates back over 900 years.
This former gatehouse to the 12th century Kirkstall Abbey, is today a museum which is reported to be extremely haunted.
Abbey House is said to be inhabited by John Ripley, the Abbey’s former Abbott. Is he responsible for the opening and closing of bolted doors and the sounds of a ‘swishing cloak’ in the museums corridors?
The first reports of paranormal activity within this building came in 1927, and many visitors since have also reported strange goings on.
Abbey House certainly takes on a whole new demeanor once the lights are out – This location is sure to send shivers down the spines of even the most seasoned of paranormal investigators.
Abbey House stands next to the historical ruins of the 12th century Kirkstall Abbey.
The core of Abbey House was originally the inner gatehouse of Kirkstall Abbey, which was founded in 1152.
According to the foundation story of Kirkstall Abbey, while travelling on business in Airedale Abbot Alexander ‘passed through a certain valley, then wooded and shadowy’. The monks asked their patron Henry de Lacy for help to acquire this land and it became the site of Kirkstall Abbey.
In the Middle Ages, Kirkstall lacked resources, but possessed ‘timber and stone and a pleasant valley with the water of a river which flowed down its centre’. In 1152 the monks began building their new abbey there. The Cistercians were noted for their enthusiasm for physical work, and they ‘felled the woods and broke up their fallow ground’, and ‘brought the niggard soil to grow rich’.
The monks flourished in their new surroundings and attracted many new recruits. Abbot Alexander managed the community well and it was popular in the local area. Many local noblemen gave gifts of land and money. Within 30 years, by 1182, the greatest of the buildings still standing today had been built, such as the church and chapterhouse.
The monks of Kirkstall were neither the richest nor the poorest of monastic communities. They did not have the same influence as some ancient Benedictine Abbeys, like Westminster, or as much money as some Cistercians, like Fountains Abbey.
But Kirkstall had a strong local community supporting it and for most of the time enjoyed good relations with the king, local lords, and the Church.
The monks did have some difficulties. In the late 1200s, the abbey fell into debt when disease struck its flocks of sheep, whose wool the monks relied upon for income. Fortunately, the founder Henry de Lacy’s descendant (also called Henry!) made a favourable financial deal with the monks, who recovered from debt by 1304.
Kirkstall Abbey remained prosperous until the early sixteenth century. In 1534, Parliament passed the Act of Supremacy, making King Henry VIII Head of the Church of England.
Henry chose to abolish all religious houses in England because of their connection to the Catholic Church and their allegiance to the Pope. These events later became known as the ‘Dissolution of the Monasteries’.
On 22 November 1539 the king’s agents entered the abbey’s chapterhouse, where, in the presence of all the monks, Abbot John Ripley signed the deed of surrender. The community had been formally dissolved.
The monks went their separate ways, and Abbot John received the abbey gatehouse to turn into his private home. This building later became Abbey House Museum, and some of its medieval features can still be seen.
Since then the house has been a farmhouse and also the home of the Butler family, the owners of Kirkstall Forge.
Reported Paranormal Activity:
The first reports of paranormal activity within this building came in 1927, when the caretaker reported a door being opened which had been bolted shut.
It wasn’t long after this incident that three people reported seeing the apparition of John Ripley, the Abbey’s former Abbott, walking the corridors dressed in his brown habit.
Since then visitors have claimed that they have been grabbed at by unseen hands and heard the sounds of people talking when the building has been empty.
Footsteps have also been heard walking towards people when again the building was supposed to be empty.
Your overnight ghost hunt at Abbey House includes:
- Vigils led by experienced investigators
- An equipment demonstration before the investigation begins
- Full use of our vast array of paranormal equipment
- Refreshments, Tea/coffee & cakes
- Access to the Kirstall Abbey ruins (weather permitting)
- Lone vigils at the end of the night where time is on our side
Important factors to consider before booking:
This event may be unsuitable for people with mobility impairments due to the nature of the property being visited. Please call to check anything you might be unsure about before booking your tickets.
All remaining balances for this event will be due by Friday 19th October 2018.