BOLTON ABBEY, a village in the West Riding of Yorkshire, England, 22 m. N.W. from Leeds and 5 from Ilkley by the Midland railway. It takes its name, inaccurately, from the great foundation of Bolton Priory, the ruins of which are among the most exquisitely situated in England. They stand near the right bank of the upper Wharfe, the valley of which is beautifully wooded and closely enclosed by hills. The earliest part of the church is of transitional Norman date; the nave, which is perfect, is Early English and Decorated. The transepts and choir are ruined, and the remains of domestic buildings are slight. The manor of Bolton Abbey with the rest of the district of Craven was granted by William the Conqueror to Robert de Romili, who evidently held it in 1086, although there is no mention made of it in the Domesday survey. William de Meschines and Cicely de Romili, his wife, heiress of Robert, founded and endowed a priory at Embsay or Emmesay, near Skipton, in 1120, but it was moved here in 1151 by their daughter, Alice de Romili, wife of William FitzDuncan, who gave the manor to the monks in exchange for other lands. After the dissolution of the monasteries the manor was sold in 1542 to Henry Clifford, 2nd earl of Cumberland, whose descendants, the dukes of Devonshire, now hold it.
See J.D. Whitaker, LL.D., F.S.A., History of the District of Craven (ed. Morant, 1878); Dugdale's Monasticon Anglicanum.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)