In 1283 Edmund son of Richard, Earl of Cornwall holders of Berkhamsted Castle (two and half miles away) founded a monastery at Ashridge, Hertfordshire. The monastery was built for a rector and twenty canons who formed, according to the sixteenth-century historian Polydore Vergil, "a new order not before seen in England, and called the Boni homines". It was finished in 1285.
At the foundation of the abbey the Earl of Cornwall donated, among other things, a phial of Christ's blood, in honour of which the convent adjacent to the abbey was founded. This relic was perhaps not so well known as the Holy Blood which the Earl of Cornwall donated to Hailes Abbey, but it proved fruitful for the abbey and convent. Pilgrims from all over Europe flocked to see the phial and the abbey grew quite wealthy as a result.
The suppressed college was granted first to the king's sister Mary Tudor, Queen of France, a daughter of Henry VII. It later became the private residence of the future queen Elizabeth I. It was here that she was arrested in 1554, under suspicion of treason.
- Hunter-Blair, Oswald (1907). "Boni Homines". The Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved 8 October 2014.
- POLYDORE VERGIL, Angl. Histor., lib. XVI (in ed. 1649, p. 402), cited in the Boni Homines article in the Catholic Encyclopedia
- "House of Bonhommes: The college of Ashridge', A History of the County of Buckingham: Volume 1 (1905), pp. 386–390". Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- Boni Homines article in the Catholic Encyclopedia
- "MSN Encarta". Archived from the original on 31 October 2009.
- Sanecki, K.N., Ashridge – A Living History, Phillimore & Co, 1996, ISBN 1-86077-020-7 pg 28
- History and 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, Ashridge entry, Pages 727–737 -ISBN 0-8048-3390-7
- History and 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