The abbey of Newsham or Newhouse was the first Premonstratensian house established in England, in 1143, the founder being Peter of Gousla, who held in Newsham one knight's fee of Ralf de Bayeux, and founded the abbey, and Ralf de Bayeux enfranchised that fee. It was dedicated to Saint Mary and Saint Martial. William de Romara, earl of Lincoln, and Elias d'Albini were also benefactors of the monastery.
In 1385 the canons complained of poverty and heavy burdens of hospitality, and recent storms had almost reduced the monastic buildings to ruins.
It was suppressed in 1536, and the site was incorporated into a landscape park by Capability Brown during the 18th century. Parts of the abbey including the precinct boundary are visible as earthworks, and there is a heavy scatter of building material, and grassed over foundations.
It was founded by Peter de Gousel, with the consent of his lord, Hugh de Bayeux, and the approbation of Alexander, Bishop of Lincoln. It was populated with a colony from Liegues Abbey, near Calais, France, then under the rule of Abbot Henry. On their arrival in England the White Canons were hospitably received by William, Earl of Lincoln, who confirmed the donations made to Gelro, the first Abbot of Newhouse, by Peter de Gousel the founder, by Ralph de Halton, and Geoffrey de Tours.
The seal of Newhouse represents an abbot at full length with his crozier and the inscription: Sigill. Conventus Sci Marcialis. Ep. Li. De Newhouse. The names of Twenty-six abbots are known, the last being Thomas Harpham, who was abbot from 1534 to the suppression of the abbey by Henry VIII.
Spread of the Order
In time Newhouse became the parent house of eleven of the Premonstratensian houses in England. The following list gives in alphabetical order the names and dates of foundations of the Premonstratensian (Norbertine) abbeys, made from the Abbey of Newhouse and existing in England at the time of the Reformation:
- Alnwick Abbey, Northumberland, this was the first foundation made from Newhouse (1147);
- Barlings Abbey, near Lincoln (1154);
- Beeleigh Abbey (Bileigh Abbey, once Maldon Abbey), near Maldon, Essex (1180);
- Coverham Abbey, Yorkshire (originally established at Swainby, 1190);
- Croxton Abbey, near Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire (1163);
- Dale Abbey, Derbyshire (1162);
- Easby Abbey (Abbey of St. Agatha) at Easby, near Richmond, Yorkshire (1152);
- Newbo Abbey, near Sedgebrook, Lincolnshire (1198);
- Sulby Abbey, Northamptonshire (originally established at Welford) (1155).
- "Newsham Abbey". Houses of Premonstratensian canons. Victoria County History. Retrieved 4 August 2011.
- "Newsham Abbey". Pastscape. English Heritage. Retrieved 4 August 2011.
- page, William, ed. (1906). "'Houses of Premonstratensian canons: The abbey of Newhouse or Newsham',". abbey A History of the County of Lincoln: Volume 2. Victoria County History. pp. 199–202. Retrieved 2013-01-24.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Abbey of Newhouse". Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company. The entry cites:
- William Dugdale, Monasticon Anglicanum, VI;
- Collectanea Anglo-Præmonst, in Redmen, Register, ed. Francis Aidan Gasquet (Royal Historical Society, 3rd series, VI, X, XII);
- Geudens, A Sketch of the Premonstratensian Order and its houses in Great Britain and Ireland (London, 1878);
- Hugo, Annales Præmonstratenses (Nancy, 1734).