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Waverley, Abbey of


First Cistercian monastery in England, founded near Farnham (Surrey) in 1128, by Bp. William Giffard of Winchester, and colonized from Aûmone. In spite of material difficulties, it founded Garendon (1133), Ford (1136), Thame (1137), Bruerne (1147), Combe (1150), and Grâce Dieu (1226). In 1187, it had 70 choir monks and 120 lay brothers. Its seniority in England, though disputed by Furness until 1232, gave Waverley precedence and the task of defending the privileges of the order. Waverley was one of the few abbeys successfully to oppose the royal privilege of assigning corodies. Historical material concerning life at Waverley is ample for the period covered by the chronicle, but much less is known of its later history. Although never a wealthy monastery, it managed to survive many material disasters, including floods, but when it was suppressed in 1536, there were only 13 monks. Of the buildings, little remains today on a site that now lies within a private estate.

Bibliography: Annales Monastici, ed. h. r. luard, 5 v. (Rerum Brittanicarum medii aevi scriptores 36) v.2. A History of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, 5 v. (Westminster-London 190012). h. brakspear, Waverley Abbey (London 1905). l. h. cottineau, Répertoire topobibliographique des abbayes et prieurés, 2 v. (Mâcon 193539) 2:343536. d. knowles and r. n. hadcock, Medieval Religious Houses: England and Wales (New York 1953) 117. d. knowles, The Monastic Order in England, 9431216 (2d ed. Cambridge, England 1962).

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