Kirkstall Abbey is a ruined Cistercian monastery located in a public park on the north bank of the River Aire, in Kirkstall, Leeds.
Henry de Lacy, in the early 1100's, founded an abbey at Barnoldswick, after a serious illness. He gave land to Fountains Abbey who built a daughter house after demolishing the local church. The monks found the land inhospitable yet struggled for six years to build the abbey. The Abbot, realising the site at Barnoldswick was not productive, found a suitable location at Kirkstall. With the help of Henry de Lacy, they moved to the wooded valley. By 1152 the abbey was complete.
The abbey was handed to the crown in 1539 because the Dissolution of the Monasteries act by Henry VIII . It was awarded to Thomas Cranmer in 1542, but was taken back when he was executed in 1556. Sir Robert Saville bought the abbey in 1584. In 1671 the Brudenell family acquired the buildings which were run down, they removed stone from the buildings, leaving them in a state of ruin.
The abbey was sold to Colonel John North, who presented it to Leeds City Council. Major restoration was undertaken, preserving the building allowing it to be opened to the public.
It is now a Grade I listed building.