Shaftesbury Abbey in Shaftesbury, Dorset was founded by Alfred the Great as a house for nuns in about AD888. His daughter Æthelgifu became its first abbess. The name itself, recorded as Shafton(e) in AD833, Sceaftesbyri in 1035 and Shastesburry in 1650, probably means Sceaft’s fortified place, coming from an Old English personal name, Sceaft, and burh, meaning fortified place. After the bones of St Edward the Martyr were transferred there in AD981 and miracles were said to start happening, the abbey became a major pilgrimage destination. It prospered, becoming one of the wealthiest nunneries in the country. Indeed it was far too rich a prize for Thomas Cromwell to pass up on behalf of King Henry VIII. Upon its closure in 1539 during the cull of the monasteries, Bishop Thomas Fuller to said to have conjectured “if the abbess of Shaftesbury and the abbot of Glastonbury Abbey had been able to wed, their son would have been richer than the King of England”. 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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