Wareham (female)
Community ID
 
896
 
Region
 
Dorsetshire
 
Medieval Location
 
Between the Frome and the Tarrant rivers
 
Modern Location
 
Wareham
 
Corporate Status
 
Abbey
 
Dedication
 
St. Mary?
 
Date Founded
 
672 (circa)
 
Date Terminated
 
Destroyed by Danes in 876, may have been a community of nuns until 982.
 
Religious Order
 
Unknown; Benedictine after 1135.
 
Notable Heads
 

Abbess Wulfwyn, who may have had connection to the West Saxon Royal house, died in 982.

 
Dependency Of
 

Wareham was one of five communities (Wareham, Shaftesbury, Southhampton, Horton, Wilton) given to Wulfhild after King Edgar failed to seduce her and returned her to Barking. Wareham may have remained a dependent of Horton.

 
Secular Political Affiliations
 

Wareham seems to have had some connection to the West Saxon royal house. It was apparently the burial place of one king, Boerthtric. Barbara Yorke suggests that this connection to Boerthric may have been a factor in the communities lack of success (See Veiled Women, vol. 2, 201 and n 1). Wulfwyn, abbess in the last half of the 9th century, was related to Aethelweard who claimed descent from the West Saxon royal house (Veiled Women, 198).

 
Architecture & Archaeology
 

A cemetery with burial inscriptions that may be dated as between the 7th and 10th centuries provide evidence that there was at least a church, possibly two, at Wareham in the Anglo-Saxon period. Foot notes that one should not assume this indicates a congregation of women was present (The Wareham Inscriptions and The Inscribed Stones in Lady St Mary Church, Wareham). Textual evidence for Wareham as a burial place that probably had a congregation can be found in the description of the burial of Beorhtric in the Anglo Saxon Chronicle (Veiled Women, vol. 2, 200-201).

 
State Of Medieval Structure
 

At present a hotel sits on the site of the medieval foundation and only the gardens of the later male foundation remain.

 
Relics
 

Edward the Martyr's body may have rested at Wareham for a short time, perhaps as little as five days, in 802 before its translation to Shaftesbury.

 
Manuscript Sources
 

Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Manuscripts A, C, D, E,

 
Miscellaneous Information
 

The first mention of a women's religious community at Wareham may be found in Asser's life of King Alfred, together with the Annals of Saint Neots erroneously ascribed to Asser when Asser describes the Danish occupation of a fortified site at Wareham that housed a congregation of women religious. While the congregation was dispersed at this time, 876, it was not necessarily destroyed. Foot ascribes the accounts of its destruction as coming only from non-medieval sources (SeeVeiled Women, vol. 2, 199, n 1). If it was destroyed it was apparently rebuilt since reference is made to an abbess of Wareham in 982. The community may have been a priory instead of an abbey (needs verification).

Between 1100-1135 the community was changed into a Benedictine community for men (Venarde). Knowles lists this as a male Benedictine monastery only founded by Henry I in 1515 with an almshouse for poor men and women.

 
Admin. Notes
 

[V0927]
Medieval location--DATES? MAKE SENSE?
Where is this information from?
Do we need the information about the male community listed above?

 
Contributors
 
Bruce Venarde; Marilyn Dunn
 
Contributors Notes
 

This community needs further verification.

 
Date Started
 
672
 
Date Finished
 
997
 
Length
 
692