THE RELIGIOUS HOUSES OF GLOUCESTERSHIRE
Monasticism had a very strong influence on the history of Gloucestershire on account of the great possessions of the religious houses.
The chief Benedictine monasteries had their origin before the beginning
of the ninth century. Gloucester was founded about 681, Tewkesbury about
715, Winchcombe in 798. Of the smaller houses of the order, Deerhurst
was founded about 804, and became a cell of the monastery of St. Denis
about 1059. The priories of Newent, Horsley, and Brimpsfield were
established as cells of Benedictine monasteries in Normandy in the reign of
William the Conqueror. The priory of St. James, Bristol, was founded
about 1137, Stanley St. Leonard in 1146.
Before the middle of the twelfth century the Augustinian canons had
four important houses. In 1131 they took the place of the secular canons
of Cirencester. The monastery of Lanthony by Gloucester had its origin
in 1136; St. Augustine's, Bristol, in 1148. The secular canons of St. Oswald's
Minster at Gloucester gave place to Augustinians about 1150. Beckford was
founded as a cell to St. Barbe-en-Auge, about 1135. The priory of St. Mary
Magdalen, Bristol, which after the Norman conquest was the only monastery
for women in Gloucestershire, was founded for Augustinian canonesses before
1173. In 1260 Horsley became a cell of Bruton, in Somerset.
Although the Cistercians came to England in 1128, and spread rapidly
in the north and in the marches of Wales, the small monastery of Flaxley,
in the Forest of Dean, was not founded until about 1151. The more noted
house of Hayles had its origin in 1246.
The preceptories of the Templars and Hospitallers were established at
Guiting and Quenington before the end of the twelfth century. In 1222
the Carthusians settled for a few years at Hatherop, but afterwards moved to
Hinton in Somerset.
In the thirteenth century the Friars came to Bristol and Gloucester.
Westbury-on-Trym, which was a Benedictine monastery in the tenth
century, and again after the Norman Conquest, probably became a collegiate
church of secular canons in the middle of the thirteenth century.
Hospitals at Bristol, Gloucester, Cirencester, Berkeley, Lechlade, and
elsewhere were founded, some for lepers, others for the sick and needy.