Waltham, Monastery of

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Former house of Austin canons, in the county of Essex and the ancient See of London, England. The original foundation of the landowner Tovi was enlarged in 1060 by Earl Harold of Wessex who believed he had been miraculously cured of palsy there. After its destruction by Geoffrey de Mandeville in 1144, King Henry II reendowed the house as part of his penance for the murder of becket, replacing the secular canons with canons regular of st. augustine. It was elevated to the status of an abbey in 1184 under Walter de Gant and was the most important house of Augustinian canons in England. It was the last monastery to be suppressed by King henry viii ; the abbot and 17 canons were then pensioned. The nave of the church remained in use as a parish church.

Bibliography: The Foundation of Waltham Abbey, ed. w. stubbs (Oxford 1861). The Victoria History of the County of Essex, ed. h. a. doubleday et al. (Westminster, Eng. 1903) v.2j. c. dickinson, The Origins of the Austin Canons and Their Introduction into England (London 1950).

[f. r. johnston]