Community ID
Alternate Names
Medieval Location
Modern Location
Stixwould; 2 miles north-west of Woodhall Spa, route 1191
Corporate Status
S. Mary
Date Founded
1135 (circa)
Date Terminated
Religious Order
Cistercian / Benedictine in 1536. / Premonstratensian in 1537.
Foundation Information

Stixwould was one of seven Cistercian nunneries founded in the twelfth century. Lucy, dowager Countess of Perch and Chester, founded the community for nuns and lay brothers most likely during the reign of Henry I. Because the revenue of the nunnery was worth less than £200, it was dissolved in 1536 under the first Act of Supression. However, at that time it then became a sanctuary for the Benedictine nuns of Stainfield. In 1537, the house was refounded as a Premonstratensian house.

Notable Heads

Mary Missenden acted as Premonstratensian Prioress between 1537 and 1539. She had previously been a Benedictine anchoress from Stainfield.

Notable Members/Residents/Guests

There are records of lay brothers and a canon all throughout the 13th century, although the last mention of them is in 1308 (Pat. 2 Edw. II, pt. ii, m. 22 2d. and Linc. Epis. Reg. Memo. Dalderby, 402 d.).

Population Counts

There may have been over 30 nuns early on, but there were 28 in 1377. In 1440 there were 20. In the fifteenth century there were usually 12-16 and at the time of suppression there were 12 (Medieval Religious Houses in England and Wales, 225). In January 1537 there were 18 nuns. After the final suppression, in SEtp. 1539, the prioress and 14 nuns were granted pensions; 11 were still on the pension list in 1553 (Medieval Religious Houses in England and Wales, 231).

Other Ecclesiastical Relations

Benedictine nuns from Stainfield were sent to Stixwould in 1536.


Lucy's sons : Ranulf, Earl of Chester, and William of Roumara were benefactors. It is questionable that the Earl of Lincoln was also a benefactor, and research is needed to verify this fact.


The community owned land at Stixwould, Honington, Barkston, and Bassingthorpe. In 1291 the assets were valued at 117 pounds, and in 1534 revenue was 114 pounds. Lucy granted all her land in Stixwould, Thorp and Honington to the nuns (Women Religious: The Founding of English Nunneries After the Norman Conquest, 169).


The community had income from Wainfleet, Hundleby, Honington, Lavington. They also either received or payed 15 sacks of wool annually and knights fees. In 1535 the net annual income of the community was valued at 114 pounds, 10 shillings, and 2 1/2 pence. Knowles and Haddock list two amounts--over 152 pounds or over 165 pounds--as the community's net income for the year 1535 (Medieval Religious Houses in England and Wales, 219, 231).

Art & Artifacts

Some coffin lids which are identified as belonging to the convent cemetery can be seen outside the church of S. Peter's in the village of Stixwould (The Buildings of England, 379, quoted inMedieval English Cistercian Nunneries: Their Art and Physical Remains, 175). The largest lid has a design of an ornament cross resting on a three-stepped base. Inside the church is Decorated Gothic molding of a window and a stone basin which may be from the nunnery.

State Of Medieval Structure

No buildings of Stixwould have survived. The site, which has an eighteenth-century farm built on it, was photographed from the air on three occasions (Cambridge Univ.: Dept. of Aerial Photo, EW 90, June 3, 1950; AZY 69-71, Nov. 13, 1969; and BZL 49-51, July 9, 1976), and some mounds can be seen north of the house.

Manuscript Sources

British Library Addit. MS 46, 701, fos. I and II.

Published Primary Sources
Miscellaneous Information

The foundation is dated as in the age of Stephen but probably was under Henry I.

Admin. Notes

[V0817]Foundation information--Should comments like these be included? MAD-fixed foundation information EMS 6/08.
Income-- Are they paying or receiving Knights fees? Also, the field originally only listed the names; I have assumed that they were receiving support from these communities, but this needs to be verified.
Knowles and Hadcock lists the community under each of its orders: Premonstatensian, 231, Cistercian, 225, and Benedictine, 219, with different net incomes for 1535. Why the discrepancy?? This will need verification? --

WRL Project
Date Started
Date Finished