A selected history of monasteries

This list shows the journey of monasticism from its birth in the wilderness of Egypt, across the seas to the British Isles and western Europe.  This list was begun by Father Alexander Haig from the Orthodox Parish of St Helen of Colchester, for one of the early Pilgrimages to Barking.  It has been expanded by Margaret Haig, but is not intended to be a comprehensive list of monastic foundations in the British Isles – this is a selection of foundations to show the development of monasticism.

Year Monastery (& Dedication) Founder Notes
250 Thebes, Egypt St Paul the Hermit (228-343) “The first hermit”
306 St Anthony’s Monastery, Egypt St Anthony the Great (251-356) “The father of monks”
323 Nitra, Egypt St Pachomius (292-348)  
325 Nisibis, Mesopotamia St Eugenius (Augin) (d 379)  
344 Chirpan, Bulgaria St Athanasius the Great (296-373) Founded on St Athanasius being restored as Bishop of Sardica (Sofia)
360 Ligugé, France St Martin (316-397) First monastery in Gaul, Ligugé became St Martin
371 Marmoutiers, Tours, France St Martin (316-397) Founded on St Martin becoming Bishop of Tours
383 Mar Saba, Holy Land St Saba  
397 Whithorn, Galloway, Scotland (St Martin) St Ninian (360-432) First recorded Christian Church in Scotland. St Ninian was disciple of St Martin
410 Lerins, France St Honoratus  
412 Kilroot, Ireland St Colman  
415 Marseilles, France (St Victor) St John Cassian  
478 Llantwit-Major, Wales St Illtyd  
<480 Rossory, Ireland St Fanchea  
513 Bachannis, Wales St Piro  
<514 Kells, Ireland (St Mary) St Macnise  
<516 Bardsey, Wales (St Mary)    
520 Clonard, Ireland (St Peter) St Finnian  
522 Llandaff, Wales St Dubricius  
529 Monte Cassino, Italy St Benedict of Nursia “The father of western monasticism”
563 Isle of Iona, Scotland St Columba (d 597)  
<577 Bledach, Isle of Tiree, Scotland St Brendan the Navigator (484-577)  
597 Canterbury, Kent, England (SS Peter & Paul, later St Augustine) St Augustine of Canterbury (d 604)  
6th C Skellig Michael, Ireland St Fionan  
600 Cork St Finbar  
<612 Hoddam, Scotland St Kentigern Mungo  
616 Clynnog Fawr, Wales St Beuno  
620 Faremoutiers, east of Paris, France St Fara (d 643) St Ethelburga daughter of King Ana of the East Angles later abbess (d 664)
635 Isle of Lindisfarne, England St Aidan (d 651)  
635 Coldingham, Scotland (St Mary, St Ebba and St Cuthbert) St Ebba (d 683)  
635+ Melrose, Scotland (St Cuthbert)    
640 Hartlepool, England St Hieu St Hilda later abbess in 649
642 Malmesbury, England (SS Peter & Paul) St Maelduf (d 675) Re-founded as Benedictine monastery by St Aldhelm (676)
649 Tadcaster, England St Hieu (possible St Bee)  
653+ Bradwell; Tilbury; Prittlewell; Lastingham, all England St Cedd (d 664) “The apostle of Essex”
654 Iken, England St Botolph (d 680)  
657 Whitby, England St Hilda St Hilda was simultaneously abbess of Hartlepool and Whitby. Council of Whitby held 664
658 Chelles, west of Faremoutiers, France St Balthild, widow of King Clovis II St Hildelith was nun until called to Barking, St Mildred of Minster trained at Chelles
661 Chertsey, England St Erkenwald St Erkenwald was later Bishop of London, “the light of London”
666 Barking, England (St Mary, later St Mary and St Ethelburga) St Erkenwald for St Ethelburga St Hildelith second abbess, re-founded 970 by St Edgar the Peaceable and St Dunstan of Canterbury
669 Lichfield, England (St Chad) St Chad (d 672) On site of present parish Church
665- 670? Chich, England (SS Peter & Paul) St Osyth (d 700) Chich became St Osyth
670 Minster-in-Thanet, England (St Mary) St Domneva/Ermenberga former Queen of Herefordshire St Mildred later abbess
670 Minster-in-Sheppey, England (St Mary, later St Mary and St Sexburga) St Sexburga former Queen of Kent  
670 Exeter, England (St Mary and St Peter)   Re-founded 928/932 by King Athelstan, re-founded by St Dunstan of Canterbury 968
673 Applecross, Scotland (St Maelrubha) St Maelrubha of Bangor  
673 Ely, England (SS Peter & Paul, later St Peter and St Mary) St Etheldreda (d 679)  
674 Monk Wearmouth, England (SS Peter & Paul, later St Peter) St Benedict Biscop  
682 Jarrow, England (St Paul) St Benedict Biscop Founded as part of Wearmouth, Venerable Bede a monk here
686 Nursling, England    
710 Restenneth, Scotland Nechtan, King of the Picts  
705 Wimborne, England (Queen of Virgins) St Ina King of the West Saxons St Cuthberga and St Cwenburga first and second abbesses trained at Barking
739 Crediton, England Aethelheard King of the West Saxons  
<747 St Andrew’s, Scotland (St Andrew)    
<757 Axminster, England    
810 Rossclogher, Ireland St Tigenach Founded for his mother, St Mella
830 Jedburgh, Scotland (St Mary) Ecgred Bishop of Lindisfarne  
<842 St Serf’s Inch, Scotland Brude mac Ferat  
<849 Dunkeld, Scotland Kenneth mac Alpin  
<856 Abergele, Wales    
904? Plympton, England    
961+ Tavistock, England (St Mary and St Rumon) Ordgar Earl of Devonshire  
<975 Brechin, Scotland    
1018 Buckfast, England   Benedictine, later Cistercian


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