Beauchief Abbey

South Yorkshire (outskirts of Sheffield)

Abbey of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St Thomas of Canterbury

Founded 1173-6 by Robert fitz Ranulph, lord of Alfreton (THOMPSON), a man implicated in Thomas Becket’s murder, although he did not take part in it.  Foundation document witnessed by Albinus abbot of Darley, who died in 1176.  Daughter of Welbeck

Involved in an early dispute over the parentage of Leiston between Durford and Welbeck.  Abbot adjudicated along with abbots of Croxton, Newhouse and Bayham (THOMPSON)

Tower added at west end of nave in 14th century  (CLAPHAM)

Originally colonised by 5 canons;  by mid-15th century 23, several serving cures;  1482 14 professed brothers with the abbot and prior and 2 novices;  1488 14 canons plus abbot (KNOWLES)

Late 1400s, abbot Thomas Wither;  went to be abbot at Welbeck between 1491 and May 1494 (THOMPSON)

Lay brothers are recorded in 1501

1458 abbot John Downham and 17 of the canons opposed visitation, and in 1461/2 he and other canons forcibly resisted visitation;  he was deposed and 1463 arrested with 18 others

Surrendered 4 Feb 1537 (KNOWLES)

Only 14th century west tower and part of nave of church remain, the latter much altered.  2 re-erected doorways flank the tower on the north and south (CLAPHAM)