Founded in 1140 by Alexander, Bishop of Lincoln, for Canons of the Order of St. Augustine (or Black Canons). Dorchester, an important Roman city of Mercia, about nine miles from Oxford, had been the seat of a bishopric from A.D. 634, when St. Birinus, the first bishop, was sent to that district by Pope Honorius, until 1085, when the See of Mercia was transferred to Lincoln. The abbey, founded fifty-five years later, was dedicated in honour of Sts. Peter, Paul, and Birinus, was richly endowed out of the lands and tithes of the former bishopric, and had twelve parishes subject to it, being included in the Peculiar of Dorchester, until the suppression of peculiars. The first abbot appears to have been Alured, whose name occurs in 1146 and again in 1163; the last was John Mershe, who was elected in 1533, and in the following year subscribed to the king's supremacy, with five of his canons, and was given a pension of £22 a year. The revenues of the abbey were valued at the time of its suppression at about £220. Henry VIII reserved the greater part of the property of the house for a college, erected by him in honour of the Holy Trinity, for a dean and prebendaries ; but this was dissolved in the first year of his successor. No register or cartulary of Dorchester Abbey is now known to exist, and only a single charter, confirming the donation of a church by King John, is given by Dugdale. Edmund Ashefeld was the first impropriator of the abbey site and precincts, which afterwards passed through various hands. The stately church of Dorchester Abbey, as it stands today, was built entirely by the Augustinian Canons, although there are traces on the north side of Saxon masonry, probably part of the ancient cathedral. The whole length of the church is 230 feet, its width seventy, and its height fifty-five feet. The north transept with its doorway is of the Norman period; the north side of the nave and chancel arch, early English, the south side of nave, south aisle, and choir, Decorated; the south porch, late Perpendicular. The extraordinarily rich sanctuary, with its highly decorated windows (including the famous northern one known as the "Jesse" window ) and beautifully carved sedilia and piscina, dates from 1330. One of the very few existing leaden fonts in England is in this church.
Communiion Boy Holy Card
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online