Waterbeach
Community ID
 
835
 
Alternate Names
 
Waterbesche, S. Mary of Pity.
 
Town
 
Ely
 
Diocese
 
Ely
 
Region
 
Cambridge
 
Medieval Location
 
Waterbeach
 
Modern Location
 
Waterbeach
 
Corporate Status
 
Abbey
 
Dedication
 
S. Mary Misericordia and S. Clare
 
Date Founded
 
1293-4
 
Date Terminated
 
1351
 
Religious Order
 
Franciscan, Clarissan
 
Rule
 
Isabella Rule (specially made for the minoresses and approved in 1263 by Pope Urban IV).
 
Foundation Information
 

Founded by Denise Munchensey, daughter and heir of Nicholas Anesty, who had also been the wife of Walter, brother of Archbishop Stephen Langton. She received papal permission to found a house for religious men and to bring some minoresses there in 1281 but the first sisters did not arrive to the house until 1293/4.

 
Notable Heads
 

The first abbess was Joan de Nevers, formerly the abbess of Longchamp.

 
Priveleges & Papal Exemptions
 

In 1295 Waterbeach was exempted from episcopal jurisdiction, answering only to the Franciscan Minister General and the Provincial in England. The house was also exempted from all secular dues and extractions.

 
Incorporated By
 

Although the priory was officially incorporated into Denney in 1342 but some of the nuns refused to leave Waterbeach until they were forcibly removed in 1351, even going so far as to elect their own abbess.

 
Visitations
 

One peculiarity of the rule of Isabella is that once a visitation was performed the Visitor was to burn all evidence of injunctions in front of the nuns once remedies had been made. As a result, no records remain of any visitations.

 
Patrons/Benefactors
 

Denise Munchensey, her daughter also named Denise who was the wife of Sir Hugh de Vere, Christine de Kirkeby, Stephen de Clopton (who acted as attorney for the first abbess Joan and parson of Buckenham Ferry in Norfolk), Mary Countess of Pembroke,

 
Social Characteristics
 

The first members were all members of the French mobility, as was required by the rule of Longchamp, where they originated. Later on this prohibition was dropped, but the majority of the nuns still came from noble families.

 
Miscellaneous Information
 

The community survived as a dependency of Denney until it was completely incorporated.

 
Admin. Notes
 

[V0928]

 
Contributors
 
WRL Project, Ericka Swensson
 
Date Started
 
1293
 
Date Finished
 
1351
 
Length
 
337