4th December 1540 - Amesbury Abbey is surrendered to Henry VIII

Henry_viii_plundering_the_churches.jpg On 4th December 1540, Abbess Joan Darell surrendered Amesbury Abbey to King Henry[1].

Amesbury Abbey was a Benedictine abbey of women, founded by Queen Aelfthryth in about the year 979[2].

It was the burial place for Eleanor of Brittany, Eleanor of Provence and probably Mary of Woodstock.[4] According to Malory, Guinevere came to Amesbury Abbey after King Arthur’s death:

And when Queen Guenever understood that King Arthur was slain, and all the noble knights, Sir Mordred and all the remnant, then the queen stole away, and five ladies with her, and so she went to Almesbury; and there she let make herself a nun, and ware white clothes and black, and great penance she took, as ever did sinful lady in this land, and never creature could make her merry; but lived in fasting, prayers, and alms-deeds, that all manner of people marvelled how virtuously she was changed.[5]

King Henry gave the Abbey to Edward Seymour, the nephew of Henry’s third wife Jane Seymour.

Jane Seymour was the successor to Anne Boleyn, who Henry had had executed on a charge of adultery, incest and plotting to kill the king[3].


By Edgar Wilson “Bill” Nye [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


[1] A sentimental & practical guide to Amesbury and Stonehenge [2] Amesbury Abbey - Wikipedia [3] Anne Boleyn - Wikipedia [4] Amesbury Priory - Wikipedia [5] Le Morte d’Arthur BOOK XXI CHAPTER VII