Abingdon, Abbey of

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Benedictine house, Berkshire, England, founded c. 675, refounded c. 954, dissolved 1538. Its early history is doubtful, but according to its chronicler it was founded by a certain Cissa, king of Wessex. It was ruined by the Danes in the 9th century and left derelict until King Eadred gave it to St. ethelwold of winchester to restore c. 954. Regular Benedictine life was restored, and Abingdon became a powerhouse of the English monastic revival, sending colonies of monks to the new minster of winchester and to the Fenland abbeys of ely, peter-borough, thorney, and crowland. After the Conquest, a Norman abbot from Jumièges was installed and the Crown imposed a service of 30 knights on the abbey. It possessed extensive estates and church patronage in Berkshire, Oxford, Gloucester, and Warwick. The church and monastic buildings were rebuilt in the 12th century, but little of these remain. Its income in 1535 was £1,876. The last abbot, Thomas Rowland, formally surrendered the abbey to the Crown on Feb. 9, 1538.

Bibliography: Chronicon Monasterii de Abingdon, ed. j. stevenson, 2 v. (Rerum Britannicarum medii aevi scriptores 2; 1858). The Victoria History of Berkshire, ed. p. h. ditchfield and w. page, 4 v. (London 190624) v. 2. f. m. stenton, The Early History of the Abbey of Abingdon (Reading, Eng. 1913). d. knowles, The Monastic Order in England, 9431216 (2d ed. Cambridge, Eng. 1962) 3156, passim. j. a. robinson, The Times of Saint Dunstan (Oxford 1923).

[c. h. lawrence]