Leominster
Community ID
 
1823
 
Alternate Names
 
Merewahl
 
Town
 
Leominster
 
Region
 
2N
 
Date Founded
 
660 (circa); Refounded: 1139 (circa) as a conventual priory of the monks of Reading Abbey.
 
Date Terminated
 
1046 (Maybe as late as 1086 or as early as the 9th century)
 
Foundation Information
 

This monastery for religious women was said to have been built by King Merwald of Mercia.

 
First Members
 

The first head was a man by the name of Eadfrith. According to Foot, the presence of women in the early years of the community's existence is questionable (Veiled Women, vol. 2, 105).

 
Notable Heads
 

According to version C of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, NULL, abbess of Leominster, was abducted and seduced by Earl Swein. She returned to the convent where she may have held land as late as 1086.

 
Patrons/Benefactors
 

Wulfgeat of Donington left property in a will circa 1000. According to John of Worcester, Earl Leofric of Mercia also enriched Leominster circa 1057.

 
Assets/Property
 

The women's community owned at least one free hide of land at Fencote in Herefordshire. The Domesday book values the manor of Leominster at 60 pounds plus supplies for the nuns.

 
Relics
 

Saint Aethelred and Saint Cuthfleda were both said to rest at Leominster.

 
Manuscript Sources
 

Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1046C
Catalogus sanctorum pausantium in Anglia, British Library MS Harley 3776, fos. 118-127

 
Miscellaneous Information
 

According to Foot, women still seemed to be at Leominster at the turn of the 9th century (Veiled Women, vol. 1, 86). The abduction of the Leominster abbess in 1046 in the C version of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle represents the only medieval record of the gender of the religious at Leominster. References in the Domesday book make it seem likely that women continued to reside at Leominster until 1086.

 
Contributors
 
Bruce L. Venarde
 
Contributors Notes
 

The history is complex and needs more work.

 
Date Started
 
660
 
Date Finished
 
1046 or later
 
Length
 
292