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Eynsham Abbey

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Title: Eynsham Abbey  
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Eynsham Abbey

Eynsham Abbey
Monastery information
Order Benedictine
Established 1005
Disestablished 1538
Diocese Diocese of Lincoln
Founder(s) Æthelmar
Important associated figures Æthelred the Unready, Ælfric, Adam of Eynsham, Anthony Kitchin
Location Eynsham, Oxfordshire, England

Eynsham Abbey was a Benedictine monastery in Eynsham, Oxfordshire, in England between 1005 and 1538. King Æthelred allowed Æthelmær the Stout to found the abbey in 1005. There is some evidence that the abbey was built on the site of an earlier minster, probably founded in the 7th or 8th centuries.[1]

The first abbot of the abbey was the prolific writer Ælfric (c.955-c.1010).

Eynsham Abbey was in the Diocese of Dorchester. In 1072, the recently appointed Norman Bishop of Dorchester, Remigius, moved his see from Dorchester, a few miles down the Thames from Eynsham, to Lincoln, at the other end of the diocese. In 1091 Remigius annexed Eynsham Abbey, with its revenues, to his new abbey at Stow in Lincolnshire.[2] This may have been the opening move in an attempt to introduce monks into the Lincoln cathedral chapter, but Remigius' successor, Robert Bloet, did not follow through with the scheme, if this was the intention.,[3] and the monks returned to Eynsham. A consequence of the return was that Eynsham Abbey was endowed by the bishop with additional lands in the south.[4]

The abbey flourished in the Middle Ages, although there were probably never more than 25 or 30 monks.[5] A well known abbot was Adam of Eynsham, a writer, who wrote a hagiography of Saint Hugh of Lincoln.[6]

By the 16th century there seem to have been only a few monks left, and in 1538 the abbey was closed in the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Anthony Kitchin was the last abbot. Some of the buildings were wrecked to hinder the return of the monks. The Earl of Derby acquired the abbey buildings, the stones of which were subsequently used to build houses in the village.


  1. ^ Blair, John (1994). Anglo Saxon Oxfordshire. Alan Sutton. p. 63.  
  2. ^ Burton, Janet (1994). Monastic and Religious Orders in Britain: 1000–1300. Cambridge Medieval Textbooks. Cambridge UK: Cambridge University Press. p. 230.  
  3. ^  
  4. ^ Gordon (1990) pp75ff
  5. ^ Gordon (1990) p.148
  6. ^ Smith, David M.; London, Vera C. M. (2001). The Heads of Religious Houses, England and Wales II. 1216–1377. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 43.  

Further reading

External links

  • Oxford Archaeology. "Eynsham Abbey". Eynsham Online!. Retrieved 19 May 2010. 
  • "Eynsham Abbey Heritage Walk". Welcome to Eynsham's Community Website. Retrieved 19 May 2010. 
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