Fountains, near Ripon, was founded in 1132 by thirteen monks who had left the Benedictine abbey of St Mary's in York, disgusted by the lack of discipline and adherence to the Rule of St Benedict. (I managed to delete my pics of the ruins of St Mary's, but you can see it on Gabriele's blog.) Shortly after its foundation, the monks successfully applied to join the Cistercian order, and Fountains subsequently became the richest Cistercian abbey in England.
(Right, above: I love this pic (apologies for the boasting, as I'm the one who took it). It looks more like a painting than a photo, I think, with that perfectly manicured, incredibly green grass.)
The second-last abbot, William Thirsk, joined the Pilgrimage of Grace in 1536 with his friend Adam Sedbergh, abbot of Jervaulx (see my last post) and suffered the same fate, execution by hanging, drawing and quartering. Abbot Marmaduke Bradley and the thirty remaining monks surrendered the abbey to Henry VIII's commissioners on 26 November 1539, 407 years after its foundation.
From 1718, John Aislabie, local Member of Parliament, began to landscape the area around the abbey ruins, and create a water garden. This is generally considered to be the finest eighteenth-century water garden in England. Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal are managed by the National Trust, and are a World Heritage site. The Cistercians in Yorkshire website says that "the ruins are amongst the most significant monastic remains in Europe."