It was founded in 1133 by Empress Matilda, who gave to ermits a place in the woods to establish their abbey. Quickly they were in conflict with foresters and complained to the queen. She proposed to protect them, but at the condition they would become cistercians, under the authority of Bordesley Abbey. They accepted and two monks came from this one to teach them the cistercian rule. During 13 years, they stay at this place under the authority of the first abbot, William. In 1153, Henry II proposed them to change their propriety with one of his own : they would give him Radmore, and he would gave Stoneleigh. In 1155, they arrived in the new place and started to build the church.