Fountains Abbey World Heritage Site

The ruins of the 12th Century Fountains Abbey are set in a World Heritage Site of 800 acres of stunning Yorkshire countryside along with the Georgian water garden of Studley Royal which contains a number of follies and classical statues; the world’s only surviving Cistercian corn mill, the Victorian Gothic St Mary’s Church and Fountains Hall.

The Abbey, founded by Benedictine monks in 1132, was purchased in the 18th Century by John Aislabie who had inherited the nearby Studley Royal Estate. The Abbey ruins, which are the largest monastic remains in the country, were closed by Henry VIII during the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539 and the whole estate sold off to Sir Richard Gresham. They remained privately owned until the 1960’s and the National Trust bought them from the former West Riding Council in 1983.

The Abbey and the other buildings are in the care of English Heritage but are run in partnership with the National Trust. Historic Property Restoration has carried out conservation and restoration work to many parts of this World Heritage Site for over twenty five years, including St Mary’s Church, Fountains’ Hall, Garland Bridge and of course to the Abbey itself.


The Dean and Chapter and its Fabric Advisory Committee is thrilled with the quality of work produced by HPR Ltd. The skills exhibited in stone masonry are particularly fine. Managers and staff have developed good relations with the client team – we couldn’t have asked for better attitude or commitment.

Lindy Gilliland Testimonial -
Lindy Gilliland - Newcastle Cathedral Project Manager

"From my personal perspective, this was one of the best projects I have been involved with over the last 35 years as a Chartered Building Surveyor, RIS Accredited in Building Conservation. My client role on this was a complete pleasure, because you and your team were first class, complementing the excellent professional design team. Well done!"

Richard Dunn -
PCC Project Co-ordinator, for St John the Baptist Church, Wilberfoss

"May I take this opportunity to thank you and your staff for your professional and unfailingly helpful conduct during this project. We particularly appreciate the efforts made to overcome the deficiencies and problems arising from the previous contractor."

Andrew Bodenham -
Blackett Ord Conservation

"HPR recognise, and allow for, the necessary archaeological recording to take place during consolidation work and the disruptions that this may cause to their planned programme of work comes as no surprise to them. This awareness means that their workforce is able to be pro-active in informing the archaeologist of any possible instances when recording may be necessary."

Mick Krupa -
NPHT Archaeologist at Nenthead Smeltmill

"Historic Property Restoration carried out the first phase of the refurbishment of the Grade II listed Town Hall. The company were extremely professional in their approach throughout the entire process as befits a company with extensive experience in the conservation and restoration sector."

David Lodge -
Greater Morpeth Development Trust

"Historic Property Restoration deliver good quality work to programme and budget on a regular basis. They are reliable and value for money."

Ian Merritt -
English Heritage Conservation and Maintenance Manager
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The working briefs have been many and varied ranging from small stonework repairs to specialist consolidation of masonry and re-roofing. The largest project to date has been the rescue of the dilapidated corn mill which was sympathetically converted into an interactive working mill museum by Historic Property Restoration Ltd in 2000.

The fit-out included everything from mechanical and electrical work and the installation of a lift through to final decoration. The mill pond and water wheel were carefully reconstructed and the waterways cleared and re-established.

Fountains Mill was built by the Cistercians in the 12th century to grind grain for the monastery and survived the closure of the abbey, continuing to mill grain right up to 1927. The building’s long history has included life as a monastic granary, a timber sawmill, a home for refugees and a workshop for masons; it now provides a historical educational facility for visitors.