Name: REWLEY Location: Oxford County:
Oxfordshire Foundation: 1281 Mother house: Thame Relocation: None Founder: Edmund, earl of Cornwall Dissolution: 1536 Prominent members: Access: No remains to be seen
Rewley abbey was founded in 1281 by Edmund,
earl of Cornwall (d. 1300), and was a daughter house of Thame.
father, Richard (d. 1272), founder of Hailes Abbey
(1246), had intended to established a college or chantry of three
pray for his soul. Edmund, however, went a step further and in
1280 offered the General
Order, in whom he had more faith than secular priests, to found
a college for Cistercians at Oxford. The Chapter accepted the
and decreed that the college should come under the abbot of Thame.
The college was not at first intended to be an abbey, but the
year it was decreed that the abbot of Thame should be empowered
to appoint an abbot of his choice for the college at Oxford, and
that the late Earl Richard should be remembered each day at Mass.(1) Therefore
in 1281 an abbot and fourteen monks arrived from Thame
and the college became an abbey. In 1292 it was decreed that all
Cistercian abbeys in the province of Canterbury should send one
for every twenty in the community to study there.(2) By
1344 the college was criticised for being too far from the town
of Oxford and for lacking in books,
and it seems that some abbeys were reluctant to send monks there.(3) Rewley
ceased to be a place of study some time before 1398, although
it continued as an abbey thereafter.(4) The
collegiate role of the Rewley Abbey was later taken over by St.
(now St. Johns), founded in 1437 by Archbishop Chichele
(1414-43) to serve the Cistercian Order within the University
of Oxford.(5) In
the assessment of 1535 the net annual income of Rewley Abbey was
valued at £174 and the house was dissolved with the smaller
monasteries in 1536.(6) The
site is now situated on land to the east
of Oxford station and there are no standing remains to be seen.