Stratford Langthorne Abbey

London, United Kingdom

Stratford Langthorne Abbey

Stratford Langthorne Abbey, or the Abbey of St Mary's, Stratford Langthorne was a Cistercian monastery founded in 1135 at Stratford Langthorne — then Essex but now Stratford in the London Borough of Newham. The Abbey, also known as West Ham Abbey as it lay in that parish, was one of the largest Cistercian abbeys in England, possessing 1,500 acres (6.07 km2) of local land, controlling over 20 manors throughout Essex. The Abbey was self-sufficient for its needs and wealthy besides; some of this wealth came from the ecclesiastic mills grinding wheat for local bakers to supply bread to the City of London. This later led to competition with the Guild of Bakers, who sought powers to levy a toll on loaves entering the City at Whitechapel.

In a charter dated 25 July 1135, William de Montfichet granted the monks all his lordship of (West) Ham, 11 acres (44,515 m2) of meadow, two mills by the causeway of Stratford, his wood of Buckhurst and the tithe of his pannage. The abbey was dedicated in honour of St Mary. The Abbey was a daughter house of Savigny Abbey, and in 1218 the General Chapter ruled that visiting members of the order could only spend three days at the Abbey's hospitality. The following year, the rule was relaxed and monks and lay brothers could remain longer, as long as they provided their own ale and wine; and oats and hay for their horses.



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