Community ID
Alternate Names
A twelfth century seal records the name of the community as Radling. Known in 1428 as Redyngfeld.
Medieval Location
Redlingfield was few miles south of Waveney , west of Bruisyard and southwest of Flixton and Bungay.
Modern Location
Corporate Status
The community was dedicated to S. Andrew at its foundation. In 1535, it was dedicated to S. Mary.
Date Founded
Date Terminated
Religious Order
Foundation Information

Redlingfield was founded by Manasses, Count of Guisnes and his wife, Emma, with money inherited by the Countess. At the time of its founding the community was established with thirteen nuns and three chaplains. Oliva claims that Emma of Redlingfield was the sole founder (Religious Women in Medieval East Anglia: History and Archaeology c. 1100-1540., 93).

Notable Heads

Emma di Guisnes, daughter of the founder, is thought to have been the first prioress. Other noted names associated with Redlingfield were: Davolers, Margery, NULL, di Weylond, NULL, di Bockynge, Hakon, Hemenhale and Clopt, Lampit, Brakle, Margaret, Legatte, Cokrose, Sampson and Sansome.

Notable Members/Residents/Guests

Agnes Brakle, struck by Prioress, 1427; Joan Tates, novice disciplined for incontinence, as was the Prioress for maladministration & meeting. Lay members of the community included girls, bothers of the girls, and boarding scholars in 1514. All seemed to have slept in one dormitory without curtains. Thomas Langelond, a bailiff, was involved in a scandal, at the community in 1427. Redlingfield suffered scandal in the early fifteent century under the unsteady stewardship of Prioress Isabella Hermit (Religious Women in Medieval East Anglia: History and Archaeology c. 1100-1540., 56). In the fifteenth century the nuns boarded Lady Katherine Boteler, a woman named Alice Charles, and unnamed others (Religious Women in Medieval East Anglia: History and Archaeology c. 1100-1540., 65).

Population Counts

There were 9 in 1427; 10 in 1520; more than 6 in 1526; and 09 (7 nuns and 2 chaplains) in 1532. A fifth documented count established the population of nuns to be 7 in 1536.


There was an ecclesiatical visit in 1427 to invesigate charges of scandal and maladministration. In 1427 Agnes de Brakle was struck by the Prioress. Another nun, Joan Tates, was disciplined for incontinence, as was the prioress for maladministration. The Prioress was exiled. Other visitations recorded in 1514, 1520, 1526, and 1532 were successful.


[1]Queen Anne, wife of King Richard II, occupation document 1383
[2]William di Kerdiston circa 1344.
Bishop Broun left 13 shillings, 4 pence to the prioress of Redlingfield, 3 shillings, 4 pence to each nun, and fifteen marks for the purchase of a Sarum grail (Religious Women in Medieval East Anglia: History and Archaeology c. 1100-1540., 57).

Secular Political Affiliations

infirmary warden appointed (?), visitation 1515


Emma of Redlingfield gave her foundation the manor of Redlingfield and the local parish church (Gilchrist/Oliva, 24). The community's assets were mostly in land holdings at Redlingfield. Since the time of its foundation it also held a chapter house. It acquired additional land in 1381 and again in 1383. In 1535 one of its assets is an organ. The land holdings, rents, and tithes yielded more than 14 shillings per year in 1343. By 1535 the community collected about 81 pounds per year and all assets were valued to be about 180 pounds.


Income was derived from rents, tithes, grain, wool, and lamb. Oliva sets the value of its income at 67 pounds (Religious Women in Medieval East Anglia: History and Archaeology c. 1100-1540., 93). The net income in 1535 was over 81 pounds.


On a daily basis Redlingfield distributed money, bread, beef, herring, and alms. During Lent it gave even more to the aged poor, totalling about 9 pounds per year in 1535. There was a yearly feast for the parish and community church? [needs verification]. The community contributed approximately thirteen percent of their income annually for alms (Religious Women in Medieval East Anglia: History and Archaeology c. 1100-1540., 64).

Other Economic Activities

Inventories taken at the Dissolution list a bakehouse and brewhouse (Religious Women in Medieval East Anglia: History and Archaeology c. 1100-1540., 33).


infirmary warden appointed, visitation 1515

Early Documents

[1]The first known document is a thirteenth century copy of the foundation document of 1120.

Art & Artifacts

A twelfth century seal represents the Blessed Virgin Mary with the Christ child on her knees.

Architecture & Archaeology

The nuns shared the parish church of S. Andrew. In its present state the church retains an aisleless medieval nave with a piscina at the east end of the south wall. The later chancel contains reset medieval features including a window with Y-tracery and a doorway with two-centered arch. The nuns' church may have originally joined the nave to the east. The nunnery was positioned to the south. (See also Present State of Medieval Structure)

State Of Medieval Structure

Part of a moat survives to the west of the site, possibly the original precinct boundary. To the south of the parish church of S. Andrew's, used by the nuns, is a building of the medieval nunnery, now converted to a barn. The building is constructed of flint rubble. The north wall retains two pointed arched openings at its base, possibly relating to a system of vaulting or to a conduit. The building may have functioned as a kitchen or ancillary domestic structure. Two brick arches indicate entrances in the west wall. There are square-headed windows on the ground and first floor. The substantial construction of the building suggests that it served as an accommodation, perhaps a guesthouse or residence for seculars known to have lived in the precinct. The inventory taken in 1536 mentions various chambers, including the priory's servants chamber and the Master Donstone (chaplain?)'s chamber (Religious Women in Medieval East Anglia: History and Archaeology c. 1100-1540., 91-92). The extant structures indicate that the outer and inner court areas were devoted to domestic residential activity (Religious Women in Medieval East Anglia: History and Archaeology c. 1100-1540., 33).

Published Primary Sources

[1]Regesta Regum Anglo-Normannorum,iii Regesta Stephani 1135-54 and Facsimiles, ed. H. A. Cronne and R. H. C. Davis (Oxford, 1968-9), 262, no. 712.

Manuscripts Produced

The nuns at Redlingfield owned missals which followed the rite of Sarum, an indigenous variation of the Roman mass (Gilchrist/Oliva, 53).

Conversi/ae and servants

There were also more than 23 servants, 2 priests, 4 lay women and 17 men.

Admin. Notes

year feast , par & community church , bishop of the diocese move from 24 De [pence?] toward 24 Se [shilling?], 1418 : nuns too busy at Xmas-- What do I do with this information????
from residents/guests field: -- MOVED TO ECCL VISIT>> _ MAD !)_@$ /

Marilyn Oliva
Contributors Notes

Emma and her husband also founded the nunnery of S. Leonard at Guisnes. According to one account, after her husband's death, she completed the endowment of this house and became a nun there (Women Religious: The Founding of English Nunneries After the Norman Conquest, 180). There was a scandal in 1427.

Date Started
Date Finished