Community ID
Alternate Names
S. Trinity de Bosco, Cella, Holy Trinity inside the Woods; it was called both Merkyate and Mergate at termination.
Medieval Location
Originally Markyate was located in Bedfordshire but was moved to the diocese of Lincoln in Hertfordshire by an act of Henry I in 1145 .
Corporate Status
Holy Trinity
Date Founded
1135 or earlier (needs verification)
Date Terminated
Religious Order
Foundation Information

Originally a hermitage, the community evolved into a Benedictine priory. S. Thompson lists the probable founders as Christina of Markyate; Geoffrey, Abbot of S. Albans; and the Canons of S. Paul's (Women Religious: The Founding of English Nunneries After the Norman Conquest, 225).

Notable Heads

Christina of Markyate was the first prioress.
Jouane Zouche surrendered the priory on dissolution.

Notable Members/Residents/Guests

Christina's brother, a monk of S. Albans, stayed with his sister at Markyate before he died (Women Religious: The Founding of English Nunneries After the Norman Conquest, 58).

Population Counts

There were 11 nuns including the prioress in 1433 and in 1536 there may not have been as many as 12 nuns (Medieval Religious Houses in England and Wales, 214).


In 1297 Bishop Sutton ordered a visitation in order to answer accusations that the nuns had taken in boarders of both sexes who had been 'cited for immorality' by the apparitor of Dunstable. However, the visitation did not confirm these accusations. Lincoln Episcopal Registers, Memo. Sutton, 173. In 1300, Bishop Dalderby performed another visitation in order to explain De Claustura Monialium. While the majority of nuns seemed ameniable to the statute, as the Bishop left 4 nuns followed him to the gate claiming that they would not heed the statute. Bishop Dalderby chose not to address the nuns at that time, but instead returned the following day sentencing the entire house to penance and eventual excommunication if the statute was not observed by these 4 rebellious nuns. Lincoln Episcopal Registers, Memo. Dalderby, 10d. The last visitation by Bishop Grey occured in 1434, and the house was found to be in great disarray. The prioress, Denise Lewelyck, was accused of breaking her vow of chastity. She confessed to the charge, and resigned her office in front of the entire convent and the vicar of Kensworth. At that time, she was also charged with other crimes, including allowing a nun to withdraw from the house as well as covering up the actions of other nuns at the time of the visitation. Lincoln Episcopal Registers, Memo. Grey, 89,149.


According to the Gesta Abbatum, the abbot Geoffrey endowed the community at Markyate with buildings, and when fire destroyed them, this settlement was sufficiently generous to provide for the community for a second time (Women Religious: The Founding of English Nunneries After the Norman Conquest, 57).


The community's net income in 1535 was valued at over 114 pounds.

Early Documents

[1] consecration charter of Bishop Alexander of Lincoln
[2] confirmation charter of the dean and chapter of S. Paul's

Art & Artifacts

The seal of the monastery under Joaune Zouche has been preserved on a document relating to the priory (Dugdale's Monasticon Volume 3, 370).

Manuscript Sources

Life of Christina of Markyate, British Library Cotton MS Tiberius E. i (ii), fos. 146-67.
Gesta abbatum monasterii Sancti Albani

Published Primary Sources
Miscellaneous Information

The foundation date is debated. Although it appears as 1135, both Elkins in Holy Women of Twelfth-Century England. and Knowles provide 1145.

Admin. Notes

BOSB--Benedictine Order

WRL Project, Ericka Swensson
Date Started
Date Finished