The Spiritual Singularity of Syon Abbey and its Sisters
Of the thousands of monastic houses that once dominated the religious landscape of medieval England, all but one fell during the Reformation. The sole religious house to survive, Syon Abby, maintained its charter, community, and composition in exile and eventually returned to England to reestablish itself as an abby. This paper examines how the unique spiritual forces that shaped Syon Abbey before the Reformation also informed its cohesion in exile, drawing parallels between the house's singular religious climate and ability to survive into the modern era. It will discuss the patronage, religious practices, and spiritual vision of the Abbey and aim to shed light not just on the spirituality of one house but on the whole of monasticism in England on the eve of the Reformation.
Cornell Historical Society