Abbotsbury, Old Monastery
Artist: Grimm, Samuel Hieronymus
Medium: Pencil on paper
When the Danish king Canute became King of England in 1016, he granted the lands around Abbotsbury to his steward Orc. Thus the Benedictine Abbey of St Peter was founded. Abbotsbury soon became a prosperous community. Successive kings and nobles granted more land and conferred more privileges on the monastery and it continued to thrive, together with the town, for several centuries.
The14th century brought the Black Death to Europe, and the monastery, like much of the country, was badly affected. Frequent attacks by land and sea invaders also helped to diminish Abbotsbury's prosperity.
When Henry VIII set upon the dissolution of the monasteries in 1538, Abbotsbury had just managed to recover some of its previous glory. Sir Giles Strangway, the administrator of the closure of St Peter's, bought the abbey and the surrounding lands for £1906 10s.