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Wenlock, Abbey of


Or Much Wenlock, former Benedictine abbey in the county of Shropshire, ancient Diocese of hereford, England. About 1080, at the request of Roger of Montgomery, cluniac reform monks from La charitÉ-surloire came to occupy the site of a Saxon double monastery that had been founded by St. Milburga but destroyed by the Danes. The abbey in turn set up dependent houses at Dudley, St. Helens (Isle of Wight), and Preen. After having its property sequestrated as that of aliens in 1380, the community was granted denization in 1385 and complete independence of La Charité in 1494. In the early 16th century several monks, including William Corfill, the sacristan, were skilled craftsmen in metal. When the abbey was suppressed in 1539 under Henry VIII, most of the 14 monks obtained clerical appointments. Some of the buildings remain.

Bibliography: w. dugdale, Monasticon Anglicanum (London 165573); best ed. by j. caley, et al., 6 v. (181730) 5:7282. r. graham, English Ecclesiastical Studies (New York 1929) 125145. d. knowles and r. n. hadcock, Medieval Religious Houses: England and Wales (New York 1953).

[f. r. johnston]

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