Nuneaton
Community ID
 
806
 
Alternate Names
 
Eton or Nuneton
 
Town
 
Coventry
 
Diocese
 
Worcester
 
Region
 
Warwickshire
 
Medieval Location
 
Originally Kintbury or Keneteburi, Berkshire 1153-5; moved to location , 1155 ; late Kintbury property donation to Ankerwyke Ankerwyke Amesbury, manor and village Eaton, Eton, northeast of Coventry. 2 mile off Wattling St. near Anker Brook.
 
Modern Location
 
Nuneaton
 
Corporate Status
 
Priory
 
Dedication
 
S. Mary
 
Date Founded
 
1147-1155
 
Date Terminated
 
1539
 
Religious Order
 
Benedictine
 
Rule
 
Benedictine
 
Foundation Information
 

Founded by Robert, Earl of Leicester and his son-in-law Gervase Paynel, husband of Isabel, with Simon, Earl of Northhamptonshire. According to Thompson, Nuneaton was founded by Robert, Earl of Leicester and his countess Amicia (Women Religious: The Founding of English Nunneries After the Norman Conquest, 121). The first site was at Kintbury in Berkshire, and a charter recording the earl's grants to establish the convent there are dated some time after 1147 (Women Religious: The Founding of English Nunneries After the Norman Conquest, 123). It was a double house.

 
Notable Heads
 

Audeburga, Lexynton, NULL, NULL, 3 Suttons, Sancto Mauro, Bristoll, Sudlee, Stafford, Auerham, Shirefored, Bruys, Seliman, 3 Everinghams, Barton, Topcliff, Haselrigg, Olton.

 
Notable Members/Residents/Guests
 

Amicia; Emma mother of Ralph di'Tureville, near foundation date Cecilia was celleraria 12th century. 14th century Spanish nuns appoint J. of Gaunt. Ceci Hawise daughter of founder, later Countess of Gloucester, educated at community 12th century. Cecily Dudley 1537. In 1507 there were 23, brethern and Prior, no monks but secular chaplains, 7 in 1328. Last Prior in 1424.

 
Population Counts
 

There were 93 in 1234; 89 in 1328; 46 in 1370; and about 40 in 1459. There were 23 in 1507, and 27 at the time of dissolution. In the twelfth century, the evidence of the Nuneaton charters suggests the presence of at least 8 men (Women Religious: The Founding of English Nunneries After the Norman Conquest, 128).

 
Dependency Of
 

The community was a female dependency of Fontevrault, France, founded in 1414.

 
Visitations
 

The bishop of Worcester canceled the appointment of the Abbess made by the Abbess of Fontevreault in 1320-2 causing a schism. There was a visitation by the Archbishop in about 1400 and then by the Bishop of Salisbury in 1413. In 1412 the Bishop of Salisbury was commissioned by the pope to visit the priory as often as was necessary, as long as the abbess of Fontevrault was unable to do so because of the war between France and England (Women Religious: The Founding of English Nunneries After the Norman Conquest, 207). Visitation by Henry VI 1437.

 
Patrons/Benefactors
 

The Earl of Leiceistershire, Earl of Lancaster, John of Gaunt in 1362, The Crown in 1399 Earl of Leicester's son, the Bishop of Winchester after 1182, Saint Paul Beauvais, Geoffrey T. Fowler and his wife around 1170. King Henry II before 1163 William, Earl of Gloucestershire and Robert Craft, Richard, Isabel, and wife of the founder and his son Simon Earl of Northamptonshire, Hawise:LAY, Isabel d'Wateville and Eidiez de Hinkelai.

 
Secular Political Affiliations
 

Maladministration in the 15th century; administered by various clergy, Prior of Coventry, and laity.

 
Social Characteristics
 

Noble House

 
Assets/Property
 

The early endowment of Nuneaton by Robert, Earl of Leicester, included the manor of Eton, and land paying 25 pounds of rent in Kintbury. His daughter Isabel and her son also made sizeable grants of two carucates of land and pasture for 300 sheep (S. Thompson, 165). Lands, chapter house, much locs, fair and market rights for Nuneaton and 3 shops in London 1375. Coalmine (needs verification). Fire and debt in 1250, poor in 1234 and 1292. Purchased in 1344. In 1291, 88 more pounds (2 pounds).

 
Income
 

Income was from rents, tithes, local market, fair, and coal (need verfication). Figures given in the taxation returns for Pope Nicholas IV in 1291 indicate the income of the house was in excess of 105 pounds, and at the Dissolution the house was valued at over 253 pounds (Women Religious: The Founding of English Nunneries After the Norman Conquest, 166/ Medieval Religious Houses, Ireland: With an Appendix to Early Sites, 216).

 
Charitable/Work
 

Sick lay women were housed in the infirmary in 1180; aid was given to the poor 1255, in year 1535 7 more. The reason given for the grant of a church in 1255 was to facilitate this house's work of hospitality and service to the poor (Women Religious: The Founding of English Nunneries After the Norman Conquest, 42).

 
Litigations
 

Maladministration in the 15th century, administered by various clergy, Prior of Coventry, and laity.

 
Early Documents
 

[1]Donation founder to the first order (1153-5); second donation founder to the first order (1153-5).

[2]A charter recording the earl's grants to establish the convent at Kintbury in Berkshire are dated some time after 1147 (Women Religious: The Founding of English Nunneries After the Norman Conquest, 123).

 
Art & Artifacts
 

Seals; Prioress and Prior under trefoil 1272; S. Mary and Child 1398.

 
State Of Medieval Structure
 

Church rebuilt 1236-8; Cloister in 1516.

 
Manuscript Sources
 

[1]The Nuneaton charters are found among the British Library Addit. charts. 47, 393- 53,112 (Women Religious: The Founding of English Nunneries After the Norman Conquest) (Oxford: Clarendon, 1991), 7).
A manuscript from Nuneaton: Cambridge Fitzwilliam Museum MS McLean 123.

 
Published Primary Sources
 

[1]Calendar of Documents preserved in France illustrative of the History of Great Britain and Ireland, i , AD 918-1206, ed. J. H. Round (PRO texts and calendars; London, 1896-), 376, no. I, 062.

 
Miscellaneous Information
 

Nun eloped in 1352. Prior charged with homicide in 1279. Burglary in 1322. There appears to have been a connection between Nuneaton and Chaise Dieu, since in 1286 a charter of the prioress of Chaise Dieu acknowledged the recipt of a sum of twelve marks due every year from the prior and prioress of Nuneaton (Women Religious: The Founding of English Nunneries After the Norman Conquest, 124-125). Another charter (circa 1155) granted to Nuneaton the right to receive nuns, brethren, and sisters into the priory and to retain the money offerings made to the convent, which were necessary due to the remoteness of the priory from Fontevrault and the difficulties of travel (Women Religious: The Founding of English Nunneries After the Norman Conquest, 125). In the early thirteenth century the prioress of Nuneaton used brothers of Leighton as her attoreys and they also acted as witnesses to charters concerning the nunnery (Women Religious: The Founding of English Nunneries After the Norman Conquest, 130).

 
Admin. Notes
 

[V0584]

 
Contributors
 
WRL Project
 
Contributors Notes
 

Thompson suggests that Amicia, Countess of Leicester and founder of Nuneaton, may have had personal contact with Abbess Matilda of Fontevrault and played an important part in the establishment of the priory of Chaise Dieu (S. Thompson, 173) . Amicia played an important role in the the nunnery and subsequently entered it. Some of the early Nuneaton charters called it an Abbey. Suppressed in the suppression of alien houses, 1414 (needs verification).

 
Date Started
 
1147
 
Date Finished
 
1539
 
Length
 
4651