Thornton Abbey was a medieval abbey, originally founded as a priory in 1139 by William le Gros, the Earl of Yorkshire. It was raised to the status of Abbey in 1148. It was a house for Augustinian or black canons, who lived a communal life under the Rule of St Augustine but also undertook pastoral duties outside of the Abbey. Thornton’s late 14th-century gatehouse, a rare surviving example of early brick architecture, is the outstanding feature of the abbey’s visible remains. The foundations of the church and cloister, built between 1261 and about 1418 are visible today.
The Abbey is reputedly haunted by Thomas de Gretham, an Abbot from the 14th century who was allegedly a practitioner of witchcraft. He was punished by being bricked up alive in the monastery, and it is said that it is his figure that has been sighted in and around the gatehouse.
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For further information, please read Haunted Britain and Ireland by Richard Jones and Britain's Haunted Heritage by J A Brooks.