Apologies for the lengthy absence. Its all to do with football and holidays - hopefully I'm back on track now.!
Monks certainly knew how to pick a spot. The locations of most Abbeys seem to be in idyllic settings- and Rievaulx Abbey near Helmsley is no different in this respect. The beauty of Rievaulx is in the detail which has survived the centuries, dissolutions and the apathy of our ancient forebears. Floor tiles are still visible in many parts, as are fonts which would have contained Holy water. The communal latrine still conjures bizarre images of the brethren hoisting their habits as they discuss the scriptures and the latest fashions in bald spots. Indeed, the latrine is perched twenty feet or so above a channeled stream with still runs freely today. One thing which drew my interest was the altar stone in the presbytery. On it are some inscriptions. If one assumes that it would have been sacreligeous for the Cistercians to defile the stone in such way - then it can be safely deducted that this graffitti occured sometime between the dissolution and the present day. It is reasonably easy to pick out 'JF' - done it seems in a kind of fluted style. Below this seems to be the words 'W (S?) Atkins'
Perhaps you see it differently? - any suggestions would be most welcome. I expect the answers will never be found, but to 'JF' and the elusive 'Mr (or Mrs) Atkins' - you haven't quite got away with it yet! Amen