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Basingwerk (Abbey)

also known as: Abaty Dinas Basing

Order: Cistercian, Savigniac

Basingwerk was founded as a Savigniac house by Earl Ranulf II (de Gernon) of Chester and was later incorporated within the Cistercian family.
As a border abbey Basingwerk was patronised by both the Welsh and Anglo-Norman nobility. Royal benefactors included Henry II, Prince Llywelyn ab Iorwerth (d. 1240), Prince Dafydd ap Llywelyn (d. 1246) and Edward details of standing remains

Dedicated to: Virgin Mary Medieval Diocese: St Asaph
Affiliated to: Savigny (mother-house); Buildwas (mother-house)
Lordship at foundation: Chester
Access: Public
Owned by: Cadw

Main events in the history of this site

c.1131Foundation - The community likely arrived in 1131 but no later than 1132.  [2 sources]
1147Reconstitution - The Order of Savigny joined the Cistercian Order and Basingwerk duly became a Cistercian house. [2 sources]
1157Relocation - Basingwerk became a dependency of Buildwas and likely moved site at this time.  [3 sources]
1188Visit - Gerald of Wales and Archbishop Baldwin stayed at the house while preaching the Crusade. [1 source]
pre 1240Patronage - The community received Gelli as a gift from Prince Llywelyn ab Iorwerth. [3 sources]
1240Patronage - Prince Dafydd ap Llywelyn (d. 1246) granted the community the church of Holywell and the shrine chapel of St Winifred.  [2 sources]
1253Concession - The community received permission from the Cistercian General Chapter to celebrate St Winifred's Feast Day (3 November) as a Feast of Twelve Lessons. [2 sources]
1276-7; 1282-1283Destruction - The abbey sustained extensive damage during the Edwardian Wars. [2 sources]
c.1280Appointment - Edward I appointed one of the monks chaplain of his new castle at Flint. [1 source]
1284Compensation - The house was awarded £100 compensation from Edward I for damages incurred during the warfare. [2 sources]
1290Royal concession - The abbey received royal permission from Edward I to hold a weekly market at the annual fair of Glossop. [2 sources]
c.1291Wealth - According to the Taxatio Ecclesiastica commissioned by Pope Nicholas IV Basingwerk had a recorded annual income of £68 8s 0d. [3 sources]
1292Concession - The community was granted royal permission to hold a weekly market at the annual fair of Holywell. [2 sources]
1295Royal summons - The abbot of Basingwerk was one of four Welsh Cistercian abbots to be summoned to Edward I's parliament. [1 source]
c.1346Hospitality - The abbot of Basingwerk claimed that his house was burdened with hospitality since it was near the road. [1 source]
1347Numbers - At this time there were about twenty monks at Basingwerk. [1 source]
c.1355Devastation - At this time the abbey was described as in a ruinous state. [1 source]
1379Clerical taxation - The abbot of Basingwerk appeared in the 1379 clerical taxation. [1 source][1 archive]
c.1405Destruction - In the early fifteenth century Basingwerk encouraged pilgrims to visit its shrine at Holywell, seemingly in the hope that this would raise funds to help towards reconstruction work. [1 source]
1416Pilgrimage - Henry V made a pilgrimage, on foot, from Shrewsbury to Basingwerk's shrine of St Winifred's. [1 source]
1454Deposition - Abbot Henry Wirral was arrested for various felonies in Flint and deposed from office. [1 source]
1481 - 1522Restoration - Abbot Thomas Pennant restored the abbey's fortunes. Read more about Thomas. [1 source]
1482 (18 June )Complaint - The abbot of Basingwerk was amongst those who complained about the abbot of Woburn. [1 source]
1521Contributions to general funds - The abbot of Neath collected 20s from Basingwerk on behalf of the Cistercian General Chapter. [1 source]
1526-1536Numbers - Under Abbot Nicholas there were about three monks. [1 source]
c.1535Wealth - According to the Valor Ecclsiasticus the house had an estimated net income of £150 7s 3d. [3 sources][1 archive]
c.1536 (late) x spring 1537Dissolution - The precise date of the suppression of the abbey is not known but monastic life had certainly terminated at Basingwerk by spring 1537. [2 sources]
1537, 10 MayCustody of site - The site was leased to Hugh Starkey. [1 source]
1540Custody of site - Ownership changed as the site was sold to Henry ap Harry of Llansa and Peter Mutton of Meliden. The Mostyns of Talacre later acquired the site.  [1 source]
1923Ownership - The former site of the abbey passed into State care. [1 source]
+ 26 minor events. Show minor events

People associated with this site

Abbots of Basingwerk

Dafydd ap Llywelyn , prince of Gwynedd (patron)

Edward I , king of England , lord of Ireland, duke of Aquitaine (benefactor)

Gerald of Wales; Giraldus Cambrensis , archdeacon of Brecon (guest)

Guto'r Glyn , Welsh bard (resident bard)

Gutun Owain; Gruffudd ap Huw ab Owain , poet

Henry II , king of England, duke of Normandy and of Aquitaine, count of Anjou (patron)

Llywelyn ab Iorwerth; Llywelyn Fawr , prince of Gwynedd (patron)

Owain Brogyntyn (Oenus de Porchinton) (benefactor)

Ranulf de Gernon; Ranulph de Gernon , Earl of Chester (founder)

Thomas Pennant , Abbot of Basingwerk (abbot)

Tudur Aled , Welsh poet

Bibliographical sources

61 Printed sources

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11 On-line sources

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Archival sources

National Libray of Wales, 'Black Book of Basingwerk', (Document), (View website)

British Library, 'Dispute over abbacy; conventual seal attached', (Document), (View website)

The National Archives, 'Exchequer, King's Remembrancer Clerical Subsidies - Basingwerk 1379', (Document), (View website)

National Library of Wales, 'Grammatical treatises', (Document), (View website)

Flintshire Record Office, 'Mostyn of Talacre MSS', (Collection),

The National Archives, 'Special Collections: Ministers' and Receivers' Accounts: Monastic Possessions Possessions of the d', (Document), (View website)

Related articles on Monastic Wales

Remnants of Basingwerk Abbey,
The Cistercians in Wales, Professor Janet Burton
Who were the Cistercians?, Professor Janet Burton

Images of this site

Arcading in the west wall of the refectory, Basingwerk Abbey

Basingwerk Abbey

Basingwerk Abbey

Basingwerk Abbey, south aisle of the church

Claustral remains, Basingwerk

Groundplan of Basingwerk, Cadw, Welsh Government (Crown Copyright)





Holywell today

Holywell today

Monastic ruins at Basingwerk

Remains at Basingwerk

Remains at Basingwerk

Remains at Basingwerk Abbey

Remains of the chapter house, Basingwerk Abbey

Remains of the former chapterhouse

Remains of the monks' refectory at Basingwerk

Surviving remains of the chapterhouse and church

The former chapterhouse

The former cloister; remains of the chapterhouse in the background

The monks' refectory, Basingwerk Abbey

The ruins at Basingwerk

View across the former cloister

West wall in the monks' refectory

West wall of the former refectory

Windows in the former refectory

Basingwerk Abbey, south aisle of the church

Flintshire, OS Grid:SJ19597747
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