Swaffham Bulbeck
Community ID
 
834
 
Alternate Names
 
Swaffham
 
Town
 
Ely
 
Diocese
 
Ely
 
Region
 
Cambridge
 
Modern Location
 
Swaffham Bulbeck
 
Corporate Status
 
Priory
 
Date Founded
 
1150-63
 
Date Terminated
 
1536
 
Religious Order
 
Benedictine
 
Rule
 
Benedictine
 
Foundation Information
 

The founder is unknown, although S. Thompson suggests Isabel de Bolebee I or II as a probable founder (Women Religious: The Founding of English Nunneries After the Norman Conquest, 229).

 
Notable Members/Residents/Guests
 

Lady Eve Wastoneys, Lady Ellen de Ufford (presumably from the family of the Earl of Suffolk), Margaret de Foxton, Margery de Rydon, Agnes de Swaffham, Isabel Loche, and Elizabeth de Teversham were all Guests in the 14th century. Margaret de Lisle, Cecily Brettenham, and Cecily Pakenham were professed nuns from well-known families.

 
Population Counts
 

There were 7 nuns and 7 lay women in 1379 and 8 nuns besides the prioress at the time of the suppression. JCR gives 18 nuns in 1377.

 
Visitations
 

In 1277, Archbishop Kilwardby's clerks made a visitation to the priory. In 1345, Hugh Seton made another visitation and ordered the nuns not to receive novices beyond the means of the house. In 1346 another visitation was made by Bishop Lisle of Ely, who found the buildings to be in poor condition, however, repairs had been made by the time he returned for another visitation six years later. Thomas de Wormenhale made a visitation in 1373 and ordered that the nuns return to the strict form of Benedictine office and not to add in other saints, antiphons, ect.

 
Patrons/Benefactors
 

Walter Marescall and his wife Amabel, Robert de Valoignes, and Roger Lambert and Isabel his wife.

 
Income
 

In 1535 the net income of the community was valued at over 40 pounds.

 
Other Economic Activities
 

The nuns, who lived within 50 yards of Swaffham Lode wharf, were apparently involved in the ship-borne commerce that passed through Swaffham on the way to ports like London and Amsterdam. The accounts of the 15th century prioress Margaret Ratliff show commodities bought from such ships.

 
Litigations
 

In 1375 the current prioress brought a suit against Giles Crakesloth and other for taking over a tenement in Norwich which belonged to the priory. The case was settled in the priories favor.

 
Early Documents
 

Papal bull from Alexander III dated 1174.

 
Miscellaneous Information
 

S. Thompson refers to 1163.

 
Admin. Notes
 

[V0821]

 
Contributors
 
WRL Project
 
Date Started
 
1150
 
Date Finished
 
1536
 
Length
 
835