St Margaret's Convent, Hertfordshire

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Location of St Margarets Nunnery on the 1932 Ordnance Survey Map.

St Margaret's Convent was a convent of the Benedictine order near Great Gaddesden in Hertfordshire, England. Founded in 1160, it was abolished as a consequence of King Henry VIII's the dissolution of the monasteries in the 1530s.[1] It was also known as The Priory of Ivinghoe, St. Margaret's, in the Wood and Muresley Priory.[1][2]

It was founded by Henry de Blois, Bishop of Winchester. Some accounts point to an earlier foundation by Thomas a Becket before 1129. It therefore predated the nearby Ashridge Priory. In 1280 King Edward I gave lands in Surrey to the convent,[3] but it was always known for its poverty.[1]

Names of some of the prioresses survive, from Isoda, elected in 1250, to Margaret Hardwick, in place at the time of closure under the first Act of Suppression of 1535, when the convent had five nuns, and an annual income of £18 8s 9d. It was sold to Sir John Dauncey in 1538, along with the Manor of Muresley. It changed hands over the centuries, finally passing to the Earls of Bridgewater and Lord Brownlow in 1823.[3]

The buildings are described as being of Totternhoe stone with mullioned windows, square mouldings and trefoil headed stained glass windows. The structure survived as a manor house until at least 1802, but had been almost completely demolished by 1862.[3]

Several place names persist from the convent, including St Margaret's Lane and Farm; and the district north-west of Great Gaddesden is still known as St Margaret's.

The modern Buddhist monastery of Amaravati is situated only a quarter of a mile from the site.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Topography of Buckinghamshire: comprising a general survey of the county, preceded by an epitome of the early history of Great Britain Author James Joseph Sheahan Publisher Longman, Green, Longman, and Roberts, 1862 St Margarets entry Pages 700-701-ISBN 0-8048-3390-7
  2. ^ Houses of Benedictine nuns: The priory of Ivinghoe', A History of the County of Buckingham: Volume 1 (1905), pp. 353-355. Date accessed: 17 July 2010.
  3. ^ a b c Swindale, Alan J. (17 February 2009). "Ivinghoe St Margarets". Family History Notebook. Retrieved 17 July 2010. 

Coordinates: 51°47′44″N 0°31′45″W / 51.795681°N 0.529177°W / 51.795681; -0.529177