Stanbrook Abbey was originally built as a contemplative house for Benedictine nuns. It had 100 cells that were small and sparse with only enough room for a single bed, sink and a bookcase. Today one can still observe small indentations beneath the wooden pews where they used to kneel and pray. The nuns established the Stanbrook Press in 1876 and they used to publish religious books. Dame Felicitas Corrigan, one of the nuns was a well known author. The Abbey was sold in 2009 and is now a hotel. It is a popular wedding venue.
The Stanbrook Abbey community now at Wass traces has its roots back to seventeenth-century Flanders where it was founded by nine young English women in exile. Imprisoned during the French Revolution, a small band of survivors returned to England in 1795, settling in 1838 at Callow End, Worcester. The property was originally a Georgian house called Stanbrook Hall. Another 170 years brought the move to North Yorkshire.