Wimborne Double Monastery
Community ID
Alternate Names
Winburn, Wimburn
Modern Location
Corporate Status
S. Mary and S. Cuthberga
Date Founded
705 (traditional date), (or 715)
Date Terminated
876 (possibly as late as the 960s)
Religious Order
Foundation Information

According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, this minster was founded by Cuthburga after the death of her husband, Alfridith of Northumbria. According to other sources, she never consummated her marriage and retired first to Barking and then built the nunnery. A letter from bishop Aldhelm of Sherbourne grants a liberty to Wimborne as early as 705 (Dugdale's Monasticon Volume 2, 88-89). Quenburga, sister of Cuthberga is sometimes listed as co-foundress. Some sources say that the monastery was destroyed by Danes. There are references to royal burials at Wimburne in the 960s that suggest some kind of community was still present to remember the kings. Its gender remains unknown. During the reign of Edward the Confessor secular cannons were found here. The new community existed from before 1066 to 1547.

First Members

Cuthburga acted as the first (?) abbess.

Notable Heads

A letter from Boniface mentions two abbesses, Cneuburga and Coenburga. Abbess Tetta, or possibly Eta, is named in the Life of Leoba who joined Boniface on his mission to Germany. According to Dugdale, Agatha and Lioba were educated by Tetta, and became abbesses, consecutively, at Scovershim in Germany (Dugdale's Monasticon Volume 2, 88.

Secular Political Affiliations

The family of the king of Wessex supported the minster.

State Of Medieval Structure

The majority of the Saxon foundation was destroyed by the Danes in tenth or eleventh century, however, the later Norman buildings still remain. For more information see ">http://www.wimborneminster.org.uk/"> [Wimborne Minster] .

Miscellaneous Information

Aethelwold seized Wimborne as his refuge when challenging his cousin Edward for the throne of Wessex. According to John of Worcester, Aethelwold kidnapped a nun to make good his escape. Thus it has been suggested that nuns remained at Wimborne later than the tradition of destruction by Danes allows. Furthermore in 962, a king, Sigeferth, killed himself and was buried at Wimborne (See Veiled Women, vol. 2, 235-237) and royalty were not usually buried at a community where there was no one to remember them.
Men and women were seperated by high walls in the community (Veiled Women, vol. 1, 53).

WRL Project
Date Started
Date Finished