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Keldholme is a small village located where the River Dove crosses the main road east of Kirkbymoorside. It is one of a number of villages in the area that are driven through far more than they are visited, in this case because the road through the village leads to Hutton-le-Hole and on to Blakey Ridge. Keldholme is a Scandinavian name meaning 'Island or river-meadow near the spring'.

Keldholme was the site of a small Cistercian nunnery, founded by Robert (III) de Stuteville, who died in 1183. The original foundation documents don't survive, but King John confirmed the grant early in his reign, and that document is intact. Keldholme Priory was located on the west bank of the Dove, surrounded by a curve in the river and the nuns were sometimes described as being 'of Dove' instead of 'of Keldholme'. The Priory rarely appeared in the historical record, although it did apparently pass through a turbulent period at the start of the fourteenth century when the Archbishop of York was repeatedly forced to intervene in an attempt to discipline rebellious nuns.

The Priory was never particularly wealthy, although it did own land in Bransdale, Farndale and around Gillamoor. In 1538, at the dissolution of the monasteries, the lands went to the Earl of Westmorland, who at the time was also lord of Kirkbymoorside. By the end of the seventeenth century a large house stood on the site.


Grid Reference: SE 709 859