The Cistercian order were founded on work and prayer, and they were innovative farmers. They transformed their holdings in Ireland into highly productive estates By the 16th century, the Cistercians of Bective Abbey had become wealthy from rents, tithes and donations. At the time that Bective was dissolved during the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the middle of the 16th century, it was recorded that the estate of Bective contained 1,580 acres valued at £83 18s 8d. The abbey and its possessions were purchased in 1552 by Andrew Wyse, but he seems to have come into financial difficulties soon after and Bective changed hands a number of times, before being transformed into a manor in the early 17th century. It came into the hands of the Bolton family, and was eventually donated to the state in 1894.
The abbey you can see today is a complex combination of different phases of construction, with additional features, along with areas of rebuilding and repurposing, reflecting more than five centuries of use. Most of the surviving structures, including the fine cloister, date to the 15th century when the abbey was under the patronage of the powerful FitzGeralds. It was at this time that the abbey was fortified, with strong towers constructed to protect the site.
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