Community ID
Alternate Names
Holy Cross; Bungeye , 1428; S.~ Cimonialia; Coenobium Bungeyense
Medieval Location
Bungay was located in Wangford Deanery , on the north edge of Suffolk south of Ipswich (Norfolk), a little north east of Flixton, a nearby Augustinian house. R Waveney ,
Modern Location
Corporate Status
S. Mary and the Holy Cross
Date Founded
1183 (nuns installed); (original foundation 1175 or 1176)
Date Terminated
Religious Order
Foundation Information

The community was founded for female Benedictines by Roger de Glanville and his wife Countess Gundreda with her dowry property. The convent was founded at the principal parish church of a market town which grew up around the site of a Norman castle (Religious Women in Medieval East Anglia: History and Archaeology c. 1100-1540., 24).

Notable Heads

NULL / di Huntingfield / Alice / Mary / di Strafford / Joan / Folyoth / Mary di Felbrigge, di Castello / Fastolf / di Montacute / Smalbergh / Roughed / Tolle / Emma / Rothnhall / Dalenger / Stephynson / Loveday / Falstoff

Notable Members/Residents/Guests

The nuns boarded Margaret Alman for a year in 1512 (Gilchrist/Oliva, 65).

Population Counts

There were 16 in 1287 and 1381, but only 11 in 1493. In 1520 there were 9 and only 8 in 1526.


Prior Aldeby visited in 1355 to hear the nuns confessions. Bishops of Norwich visited in 1287, 1493, 1514, 1520, 1526 and 1532. All visitations found the community in order.


Several important patrons were Bigod, the Earl of Norfolk, followed by Ufford, Earl of Suffolk, and John, Duke of Norfolk. The main benefactors were its founders, Roger de Glanville and his wife Countess Gundreda, followed by Roger Bigod, Earl of Norfolk in the 13th century. In 1346 noted benefactors are Edward de Montacute and his wife Alice. Prior to 1235 the community had many small benefactors. The community also benefitted from the largesse of the Countess of Suffolk, who boarded her daughters here (Religious Women in Medieval East Anglia: History and Archaeology c. 1100-1540., 57). M de Felbrigge, Proress in 1318 ; Alicia di Frostenden, Beatrice and Ailidi

Secular Political Affiliations

Litigation versus Prior Coxford in 1299 & by Abbott Barlings in 1301: usps (?) versus the college of Mettingham in 1382.


In addition to the founder's dowery, the comunity had benefices, land holdings rents, and a chapter house. They also held other small plots of land, and a mill. In 1535 their assests were valued at 61 pounds and in 1536 at 60 pounds.


They derived their income from rents and tithes. In 1535 the net income was valued at over 61 pounds.


The nuns allotted 2 shillings to the poor on the anniversary of the foundress's death and the prioress distributed the sum of 12 shillings, 8 pence on the same day (Religious Women in Medieval East Anglia: History and Archaeology c. 1100-1540., 64).


litigation versus Prior Coxford in 1299 & by Abbott Barlings in 1301: usps / versus the college of Mettingham 1382.

Early Documents

[1]Chronicle of John de Oxenede
[2]third charter from Edward III

Art & Artifacts

A seal remains that represents Jesus Christ on the cross, with two men kneeling at either side, dated from 1360. Two other seals from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries depict prioresses. One seal reads: Domus much(?) S. Crucis de Bungeya.

Architecture & Archaeology

(See also Present State of Medieval Structure) Remaining fabric suggests that the nunnery cloister joined the church to the north, and an arched opening led to a chapel to the south.

State Of Medieval Structure

The broad aisled nave of the church survives as the principal parish church of Bngay. The church was originally cruciform, wiht the nunnery church as the eastern part. Fragments of the precinct wall survive in situ in St. Mary's Street and Trinity Street. Remains of the priory chruch survive attached to the present chancel. The claustral buildings were destroyed by fire in 1688 (Gilchrist/Oliva, 89). Remains in the priory include parts of the north transept and of the nuns' choir. The nun' choir retains a lancet and image niche (Gilchrist/Oliva, 90).

Manuscript Sources

[1]Cal. Chart. Roll 1327-41 (Charter roll calendared); London Public Record Office, 225-6. A charter of Henry II, which dates from 1188 and confirms grants to the nunnery, makes it clear tht most of them came through Gundreda.
[2]Chronicle of John de Oxenedes (which records the foundation).

Miscellaneous Information

Knowles establishes the foundation date as above, 1183; however both Oliva and the Victoria County History provide the date 1160.

Admin. Notes

[V0218] BOSB = Benedictine/ RB= Benedictine
ltg vs Prior Coxford 1299 & by Abbott Barlings 1301 : usps / vs college Mettingham 1382= litigation versus Prior Coxford in 1299 and by Abbott Barlings in 1301: usps? versus the college of Mettingham in 1328.
NO 2 : 11 ( Knowles ) (needs verification) / NO 5 : 08 , 1532 / NO 6 : 12 , 1536 ( Dugdale )/

Marilyn Oliva
Contributors Notes

Countess Gundreda, daughter of Roger, Earl of Warwick, and wife of Roger de Glanville, appears to have played a major part in the foundation of the house of Bungay (Women Religious: The Founding of English Nunneries After the Norman Conquest, 175). Roger was a crusader and probably died in the Holy land; in 1198 Gundreda pain 100 pounds not to be forced to marry against her will.

Date Started
Date Finished