Ramsey Abbey, Huntingdonshire, England, was founded by Ailwine (Ethelwine, Egelwine), a Saxon noble, in 969. He was encouraged in the undertaking by St. Oswald of York, who advised him that where men have renounced the world the air becomes salubrious, the fruits of the earth are gathered in abundance, famines and pestilence disappear, the State is duly governed, prisons are opened, and captives set free, those wrecked at sea are relieved, the sick are healed and the weak find means for their convalescence. The site chosen, Ramsey (Ram+eie, insula arietis), was then the largest and finest of the islands of a great marsh formed by the waters of the Ouse. It was afterwards connected with the mainland by a causeway constructed by the monks. Here Aednoth, nephew of Ailwine, commissioned by Oswald to make preparations, built a wooden church and offices, and as soon as all was ready, the saint sent twelve monks from his monastery of Westbury (Worcester) to take possession. The wooden minster was dedicated by Oswald and St. Dunstan of Canterbury to St. Mary, all Holy Virgins, and St. Benedict. Soon a fine stone church with towers was erected and consecrated by St. Oswald, Archbishop of York, assisted by Aescwio, Bishop of Dorchester, in 991. The year following (992) the two founders, Ailwine and Oswald, died, and the monastery, governed till then by priors (Germanus and Aednoth), was permitted to elect an abbot. Aednoth, son of Aednoth, the prior, was the first to hold office.
Ailwine handsomely endowed his foundation with lands and privileges. He also presented the new church with an altar-frontal ( tabula in fronte eminentioris altaris ) of wood, covered with silver plates and many-coloured jewels. King Edgar, Henry I, Henry II, and others extended and confirmed the possessions and liberties. In 1002 the body of St. Ives (Ivo) was miraculously discovered in the neighbourhood and this led to the establishment of the dependent priory of St. Ives. Another dependent priory or cell was Modney, in Norfolk. The abbot had a seat in Parliament and ranked next after Glastonbury and St. Alban's. At the Dissolution (1539) John Wardeboys, alias Lawrence, willingly resigned the abbey into the king's hands and received a pension of £266. 13s. 4d. per annum. The estates were granted by Henry VIII to Sir Richard Williams, alias Cromwell. The revenue, according to Dugdale, was £1716. 12s. 4d., but according to Speed, £983. 15s. 3 1/4 d. Nothing important remains of the buildings but a ruined Late Gothic gateway.
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