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Abingdon Abbey, Berkshire,(now Oxfordshire), England

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Abingdon Abbey, Berkshire, (now Oxfordshire), England

Abingdon Abbey, also known as 'St Mary's Abbey was a Benedictine Monaster.

History

It is thought that the abbey was founded either by Cissa, viceroy of Centwine, king of the West Saxons, or by his nephew Hean, in honour of the Virgin Mary, for twelve Benedictine monks.

During the reign of King Alfred. it was destroyed by the Danes having grown in stature previously being endowed by various West Saxon kings. In about 954 King Eadred appointed Æthelwold, later Bishop of Winchester, abbot. He was one of the leaders of the English Benedictine Reform, and Abingdon then became the second centre of the Reform (after Glastonbury).

Physician to Henry I of England Faritius, (1100-17), and Richard of Hendred, were both Abbots following the Noman Conquest. Richard of Hendred's was appointed with the King's consent in 1262. Thomas Pentecost alias Rowland was the last Abbot and he signed the surrender of the monastery in 1538 also being amongst the first to acknowledge Royal Supremacy. He received Cumnor Manor for life.

Before being moved to Canterbury Cathedral Ælfric of Abingdon was buried at Abingdon Abbey. Also buried here were Sideman (bishop) and Margaret, Countess of Pembroke.

According to Susan E Kelly the first six abbots of Abingdon Abbey were fictional. "There is good reason to think that in most cases their names were simply plucked from early charters available in the abbey's archive, the majority of which would seem to have had no connection with an early minister at Abingdon; there is no very convincing evidence that the historians had access to independent, reliable sources of information. The 'history' of the pre-Æthelwoldian minister seems to a very large extent to represent a fictional reconstruction".

Probably fictional abbots:

Name Comments

  • Hæha, also Hean The legendary first abbot of Abingdon, but, according to Kelly, more probably an abbot of Bradfield, his name having been plucked from a charter dated 704,[2] with others, in order to replace the lost early history of Abingdon Abbey.[1]
  • Cumma Cumma is mentioned in a forged charter of King Æthelbald,[3] but "no Abbot Cumma is known from other sources".[1] It is, however, generally considered that the village of Cumnor is named after him.
  • Hræthhun A Hræthhun was styled abbot of Abingdon in a charter dated 811, but the charter was forged, probably using the name of Hræthhun (d. 839/40), bishop of Leicester. Kelly therefore excludes him from the list of Abingdon abbots.
  • Alhhard Kelly suggests that the name was plucked from the witness list of a charter, with others, in order to reconstruct the lost early history of the Abbey of Abingdon.
  • Cynath A Cynath, abbot of Evesham, mistakenly listed by the compiler of the De Abbatibus Abbendoniae as an abbot of Abingdon.
  • Godescealc Godescealc's name occurs in three charters, all of them forgeries, and was later extracted from these documents and used in the construction of a spurious early history of the Abbey of Abingdon.

Abbots of Abingdon.

The historic abbots, right up to the dissolution of the abbey in 1538, are as follows:

Name In office Comments

  • Saint Æthelwold of Winchester c. 955 to c. 964 later Bishop of Winchester[1]
  • Osgar c. 964 – 984 [1]
  • Eadwine 985 – 990 [1]
  • Wulfgar 990 – 1016 [1]
  • Æthelsige 1016 – 1018 [1]
  • Æthelwine 1018 – 1030 [1]
  • Siward 1030 – 1044 [1]
  • Æthelstan c. 1044 – 1047 or 1048 [1]
  • Spearhafoc c. 1047 or 1048 – 1051 a famous goldsmith, later Bishop-Elect of London, who absconded with a large treasure
  • Rodulf 1051 – 1052 [1]
  • Ordric 1052 – 1066 [1]
  • Ealdred 1066 – 1071 [1]
  • Adelelm 1071 – 1083 Norman abbot[1]
  • Rainald 1084 – 1097 Norman abbot[1]
  • Faritius 1100 – 1117 Norman abbot[1]
  • vacant 1117 – 1121 [6]
  • Vincent 1121 – 1130 [6]
  • Ingulph (abbot of Abingdon) 1130 – 1159 [6]
  • Walkelin 1159 – 1164 [6]
  • vacant 1164 – 1165 held by the king[6]
  • none 1165 – 1175 held in commendam by Godfrey, bishop of St Asaph[6]
  • vacant 1175 [6]
  • Roger 1175 – 1185 [6]
  • vacant 1185 – 1186 vacant for half a year[6]
  • Alvred 1186 – 1189 [6]
  • Hugh 1189/1190 – c. 1221 [6][7]
  • Robert of Hendred (Henreth) 1221 – 1234 [7]
  • Luke 1234 – 1241? [7]
  • John de Blosmeville 1241 – 1256 [7]
  • William of Newbury 1256 – 1260 [7]
  • Henry of Frilford (Frilleford) 1260 – 1261 [7]
  • Robert of Hendred 1261 – 1289 [7]
  • Nicholas of Culham 1289 – 1306 [7]
  • Richard of Bishops Cleeve 1306 – 1315 [7]
  • John of Sutton 1315 – 1322 [7]
  • John de Canyng (Canynges) 1322 – 1328 [7]
  • Robert of Garford 1328 – 1332 [7]
  • William (of Cumnor (Comenor(e)) 1332 – 1335 [7]
  • Roger of Thame (Tame) 1335 – 1361 [7]
  • Peter of Hanney 1361 – 1399 [7]
  • Richard de Salford 1401 [8]
  • John Dorset 1415 [8]
  • Richard Boxore 1421/2 – 1427 [8]
  • Thomas Salford 1427 [8]
  • Ralph Hamme 1428 – 1435 [8]
  • William Ashendon 1435 [8]
  • John Sante 1468 [8]
  • Thomas Rowland 1496 [8]
  • Alexander Shottisbrook 1504 [8]
  • John Coventry 1508 [8]
  • Thomas Pentecost (= Rowland) 1511 x 1512 – 1538

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