Name: WOBURN Location: nr Woburn
County: Bedfordshire Foundation: 1145 Mother house: Fountains Relocation: None Founder: Hugh de Bolebec Dissolution: 1538 Prominent members: Access: Open to the public
Woburn was established in 1145 under the patronage
of Hugh de Bolebec and at the advice of Abbot Henry
Murdac of Fountains.
The founding community was from Fountains Abbey and
it seems that Adam, a monk of Fountains and later the first abbot
of Meaux (1150), supervised the building work here.
In 1204 Woburn
must have had a community of at least twenty-six for it was large
enough to provide a colony of monks for a daughter foundation
Medmenham. However, thirty years later
the house appears to have been in serious financial difficulties.
The abbey was in such poverty
that the majority of monks and lay-brethren had
to be accommodated in other houses. The abbey soon regained its
wealth and by the
Woburn was one of the wealthiest in the county. The house was
still in a good financial state at the time of the Dissolution.
In the assessment of 1535 its net annual income was
valued at £391 and, following the suppression of the house,
419 ounces of gilt plate and 326 ounces of parcel gilt plate
removed from the abbey. The last abbot, Robert Hobbes, and two
of his monks were executed with several others in 1538 for opposing
the Oath of Supremacy; all the remaining monks were expelled and
the house was seized by the crown.
In 1547 the site was granted
to Lord John Russell, and it has remained in his family ever since.
A large house was built on the site during the eighteenth century
which may incorporate parts of the cloister building within its
walls. The house, which takes its name from the abbey, still
the site and is privately owned by the duke of Bedford. Although
there are no ruins to be seen, the country house is open to the
on a regular basis.