Houses of Benedictine nuns: Nunnery of 'Ramestede'

Page 63

A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1973.

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A house of Benedictine nuns was founded by Richard, (fn. 1) archbishop of Canterbury (1171-83), at ' Ramestede,' and was in existence about 1200, when the chronicler Gervase mentions it as one of the religious houses in Sussex; (fn. 2) but very shortly after this it must have been suppressed, for by a deed (fn. 3) which is witnessed by Simon, archdeacon of Wells, who became bishop of Chichester in 1202, Archbishop Hubert states that, because the nuns of 'Ramestede' were living so laxly that no small scandal had arisen, he had decided, by the advice of prudent men of religion and with the consent of the nuns themselves, to remove them thence and to bestow their lands and buildings upon the priory of St. Gregory of Canterbury. As he goes on to grant the priory pannage in his wood of Malling, it seems clear that 'Ramestede' was in that neighbourhood, and we may perhaps locate it in Ramscombe, one of the divisions of Malling manor. The lands were subsequently given back by the priory to Archbishop Edmund, (fn. 4) but the statement in the Monasticon that the nuns were re-established and their possessions confirmed to them by Archbishop Boniface does not seem to be correct—probably the confirmation charter should be ascribed to Archbishop B[aldwin] (1183-91).


  • 1. Dugdale, Mon. iv, 658.
  • 2. Gervase of Cant. (Rolls Ser.), ii, 419.
  • 3. For a transcript of this deed I am indebted to the kindness of the Rev. R. Sinker, D.D., librarian of Trin. Coll. Camb.
  • 4. Dugdale, Mon. iv, 658.