Wellow Abbey in Lincolnshire was a house for the Austin Canons and was founded in Grimsby in the early1100s.
It sat on a hill in grounds in the area that is now in and around the Abbey Drive, Abbey Park Road area.
The Augustinian monastery or priory is both of great interest and importance and the aim of this article is to amass as much historical information as possible
If you can add to the sum of that knowledge then please do leave a comment
Although I’ve been unable to find an exact date the the formation of Abbey of Wellow it was founded by King Henry I ( c. 1068/1069 – 1 December 1135 ) so that makes a date circa 1130s not ridiculous. There is a Royal Charter dating 1155-1162 which mentions gifts made to the abbey
The house was dedicated to St. Augustine and St. Olaf and situated (see map further down) on a hill in the centre of Grimsby not far from St James Church. It was supplied with fresh water from a spring situated at the side of the hill. The spring was of sufficient strength to power a water mill which stood at the foot of the hill.
The surrounding lands and tithes made the monastery quite healthy financially with a recorded income of over £152 per annum.
During the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII their assets, in 1539, amounted to some 700 acres of land as well as manors, tithes, various properties rented out and mills.
Above you’ll see images of the two surviving seals. The one on the left (2) is circa 1369 and the figure represents Saint Augustine.
The right-hand seal is finer and is believed roughly the same date.
The original site is believed to have had Pagan Origins and the stones, allegedly formed in a circle with one large standing stone, formed part of the foundations of the abbey itself.
According to an archaeological report ‘worked stones’ were found at TA 2690 0875 along with burials to the east at TA 2695 0875 during the construction of houses.
The Abbot of Wellow would have been a very powerful man locally, a large landowner and no doubt keen to avariciously extend the Abbey’s holdings and income.
This lead them into conflict with the newly powerful Burgesses / Freemen of Grimsby not to mention going into competition with The Knights Templar in the blocking of roads with gates (hence Bargate et al) in order to secure tolls from travellers and traders.
Court records and petitions are plentiful from the 1200s as the Augustinian House sought to protect their holding and assets from the Burgesses of the town.
I should be particularly interested to flesh out more of the later history of the site. Dissolution brought about the end of the building in 1539 but what happened to it after that ?
One final thought, I wonder whether this is the source of the stone I have
I understand some very low level remains were still visible in the 1960s and, tantalizingly, there is an aerial photograph in existence taken in 1947 which shows some of the remains - I should dearly love to locate that !
Likewise a picture of the Abbey of Wellow, thus far I’ve failed to find anything, perhaps there is none though I’d like to think there is - can you help ?
I’ll draw this to an initial conclusion now but please do read on as I, and hopefully others, will expand this article in greater depth, and with new material as and when it comes to light, in the comments below.
If you know of anything at all then please do leave any comments or opinions - all are very welcome.
All the best
Please scroll down and check the comments as there is a great deal more information coming to lighht in them - thank you