The abbey's setting remains virtually unscathed- lambs graze in verdant fields, a footpath that once brought beggars, visitors and pilgrims now hosts day trippers, and the River Swale continues in its meandering course below the abbey. The abbey itself has fared far worse. King Henry VIII dissolved it in 1536, and the buildings and land were sold to a local aristocrat, Sir Henry Scrope, who then allowed the abbey to be used as a virtual stone quarry over the seceding generations. Much of the village of Easby was constructed from the abbey's salvaged stone. The finest stone was long stripped from the facade, and the walls' rubble fill is what is most visible today (see image at left). The most prized pieces of furnishings and decoration were rescued from destruction, including intricately carved choir stalls that are now within St. Mary's Church in Richmond.
To distill the story of the rise and fall of the abbey into more modern parlance, a building that once served as the heart-center of a growing community was eventually seen as obsolete and
"became redundant," to adopt British terminology. The very materials whose sum parts produced a home for generations and served as a potent symbol for the spread of "civilization" into the medieval "wilderness" were removed to be used for seemingly more useful purposes. The abbey no longer was legally, socially or economically viable, thus its parts were dispersed across the countryside to fit a contemporary need, and its best pieces were hauled off to more important population centers.