Houses of Benedictine monks: The monastery of Ikanho

Pages 96-97

A History of the County of Lincoln: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1906.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.


In this section



Amongst the Lincolnshire monasteries which are known to history the most ancient seems to have been the one which was built by St. Botolph at Ikanho, probably somewhere near the town of Boston. The English Chronicle dates the foundation in the year 654. (fn. 1) This house was not modelled, like most of the northern monasteries of the time, on the pattern of Iona; St. Botolph's travels in Gaul, before he adopted the regular life, had given him an acquaintance with other rules. It is said that when he returned to Lincolnshire, he asked the sub-king Ethelmund, whose sisters he had met in Gaul, to give him a piece of waste land on which to build a monastery; and the place at Ikanho was chosen simply because it was as yet unoccupied. (fn. 2) The rule which St. Botolph gave to his monks was an eclectic one, gathered from sources old and new; but it was apparently well kept, and when Ceolfred, the friend of Benedict Biscop, and afterwards abbot of Wearmouth, was visiting several of the English monasteries about 670, he was much edified by the learning and piety of the brethren at Ikanho. (fn. 3)

The monastery continued probably until the devastation of this part of the country by the Danes, near the end of the ninth century. It was never rebuilt.


  • 1. Ang.-Sax. Chron. (Rolls Ser.), i, 50-1.
  • 2. Bright, Early Engl. Church Hist. 179.
  • 3. Anon. Hist. of Abbots of Jarrow, in Baedae Opera Hist. (ed. Plummer), i, 389, and cf. ii, 372.