Romsey Abbey (interior)
ROMSEY ABBEY through the centuries by Judy Walker
I enjoyed and recommend this book about Romsey Abbey as it is an easy to read book,
with plenty of facts and figures. It is also a good reference book.
The book can be purchased from Romsey Abbey, the Visitor Centre in Church Street
or possibly through a bookseller online like Amazon.
ISBN 0-9537679-0-6 published by Romsey Abbey Publications Tel: 01794 513125
Extract from leaflet which can be purchased at the Abbey bookstall
THE BENEDICTINE NUNNERY OF ROMSEY 907 – 1539 AD
A Royal Foundation
According to tradition, King Edward the Elder, son of Alfred the Great,
founded a nunnery here about the year 907.
It is possible that the foundation was even earlier than that.
Royal connections remained strong for several centuries.
In 966 King Edgar refounded the Romsey nunnery, along with many other religious houses and,
where there had been a variety of custom and ritual,
he brought them all under the rule of Saint Benedict.
Some 500 years earlier in Italy, Saint Benedict had founded a community for men
(paralleled by a similar one for women founded by his sister, St Scholastica.
They are the central figures in the row of saints on the wooden screen
behind the alter in the North Transept).
Benedict wrote a rule for his community
which became the model for religious communities in the west.
In contrast with the ascetic extremes of the desert Fathers in the east,
the mark of Saint Benedict’s way of life was balance and moderation.
Worship, the ‘Opus Dei’, was central with seven short daily services
and a longer one in the middle of the night.
The rest of the day was divided between meditation and study, and manual work.
The monks cared for those who came to them for hospitality
but normally remained within the cloister, keeping silence for much of the day.
In the security cabinet at the top of the picture is the Deed of Sale
which was signed by King Henry VIII on the 20th February 1544.
The Abbey Church was bought by and for the people of Romsey for one hundred pounds,
which was a large sum of money in those days.
The agreement was negotiated by four local men
and there is a picture of a memorial stone laid in the floor elsewhere on this website.
At the bottom of the picture, from left to right is an Alabaster Pieta 16th century,
a Chalice dated 1568, the book which is now know as the Romsey Psalter
which is dated in the 15th century.
Another picture of the Romsey Psalter is shown elsewhere on this website.
The picture shown below is one of the tombstones of abbesses which can be found in the abbey
Songs of Praise 1983 Boys Brigade n/c
WMV file for above video