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Cistercian Abbeys: MEREVALE

Name: MEREVALE Location: nr Atherstone County: Warwickshire
Foundation: 1148 Mother house: Bordesley
Relocation: None Founder: Robert de Ferrers, earl of Derby
Dissolution: October 1538 Prominent members:
Access: Private farmland with public access to the gate chapel

Merevale abbey was founded in 1148 by Robert de Ferrers, earl of Derby (d. 1159) and was the second house to be colonised by Bordesley.(1) One of Robert’s descendants, Earl William de Ferrers, was buried in the chapter-house in 1253. The abbey also enjoyed royal visitors: Edward I stayed at the abbey in 1275 and Edward III wstayed at the abbey during March 1322.(2)
Merevale was never a large monastery, housing little more than ten monks. At the time of the Dissolution the net annual income was £254 and the house was surrendered in October 1538.(3) Apparently parts of the central buildings were converted into a house once the abbey had been surrendered. Parts of the church and south cloister range survive within two barns of the working farm that occupies the site and the medieval gate chapel is still in use as a parish church.(4)