A series of ‘bite-sized’ articles about the Cistercian Order and Sawtry Abbey are being written by Sawtry Archaeology.

Cistercian monasticism dates to 1089 with the setting down of the first rudimentary buildings from which Citeaux Abbey would be founded. The first daughter-houses were founded in the second decade of the twelfth century, ensued by a rapid expansion of the Order, with approximately ninety abbeys having been founded throughout Europe by the early 1130s. The first Cistercian abbey to be founded in Britain was Waverley Abbey (1128) in Farnham, Surrey.

Sawtry Abbey was founded in 1147 by Simon II de Senlis, Earl of Northampton and Huntingdon, in the manor of Sawtry Judith. It was the only Cistercian abbey to be founded in both Huntingdonshire, and within the boundary of modern Cambridgeshire. The surviving earthworks that give evidence of the monastic cloister are located on the eastern edge of Sawtry Civil Parish on land managed by Abbey Farm.

If you are interested in reading more about the Cistercian Order and Sawtry Abbey, the first published articles are available on both the Sawtry History Society and Sawtry Archaeology websites (Origin of the Cistercian Order, Carta Caritatis (Charter of Charity) – Foundational Document of the Cistercian Order and Founding a New Abbey). Further articles will be available over the coming months. All articles include a list of reference publications for those who wish to read more about this very influential and important monastic order.