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Cistercian Abbeys: REVESBY

Name: REVESBY Location: nr Revesby village County: Lincolnshire
Foundation: 1142 Mother house: Rievaulx
Relocation: None Founder: William de Roumare I, earl of Lincoln
Dissolution: c. 1539 Prominent members:
Access: Private property – no public access

Revesby Abbey was founded by William de Roumare, lord of Bolingbroke and earl of Lincoln, and half- brother of Ranulf, earl of Chester. Revesby was colonised by the usual thirteen monks and some lay- brothers from Rievaulx, and was the fourth daughter-house of this abbey. The site was on an existing village, on the northern edge of the fen, which had become depopulated. Upon their arrival in 1142/3, the new colony of monks used the existing church of St. Lawrence as a temporary church. Revesby Abbey was fairly well endowed and was to become one of the richest houses of the Cistercian Order in the thirteenth century. The founding abbot, St. Aelred (d. 1167), later achieved considerable at Rievaulx, where he presided as abbot from 1147 to 1166. The abbey’s founder, William de Roumare, ended his days as a monk of Revesby and following his death was buried within the grounds of the abbey.

At the time of the Dssolution, the annual net income of the house was assessed at £287 and the abbey was reported to have been in a state of great ruin and decay.(1) Revesby was dissolved along with all the larger monasteries in 1538/9. One of the witnesses of the Lincolnshire rebellion of 1536 asserted that the monks of Revesby had been seen in the field alongside the insurgents but none of them was brought to trial.(2) Following the Dissolution the site was granted to Charles Brandon, duke of Suffolk (1514-45). There are no standing remains, although the earthworks define not only the church and cloister, but also an extensive precinct. The site lies on farmland and there is no public access.