Bruton Road, SM4


Bruton Abbey, Somerset, was founded in about 1127 by William de Mohun, the Earl of Somerset, as a community for Augustinian canons. It became an abbey in 1511, after the prior Gilbert made a pilgrimage to Rome to seek permission for its elevation, but was dissolved in 1539 as part of Henry VIII’s land grab against the Catholic Church. The 16thCentury historian John Leland says it was founded in about 1005 as a Benedictine monastery by Æthelmær the Stout, but it doesn’t appear in the Domesday Book. Despite its small size the priory was relatively wealthy having been endowed with land and property. In the 13thCentury it swapped property in France for land a little closer to home in Sussex and in Gloucestershire. Yet despite its prestigious beginnings, the priory was dogged by rumours of immorality. In 1428 prior John Schoyle was removed from his post by Bishop Stafford having been accused of committing serious offences. His successor, Richard of Glastonbury, proved to be equally troublesome, his actions leading to the introduction of bans on the canons sleeping away from the house without permission, on hunting and dice playing, and on women in the monastery. In the lead up to its dissolution, the abbot, Ely, became the subject of criminal accusations and even plots against his life, and was later imprisoned in the Tower of London. After its dissolution, the abbey and manor were bought by Sir Maurice Berkeley and the abbey buildings were subsequently converted and incorporated into a manor house. Like many of the roads on the St Helier’s estate this is named after British monasteries and abbeys in remembrance of the area’s historic ownership by Westminster Abbey. The road names are in alphabetical order, of which Aberconway Road in the north west of the estate is first.

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