Barking Abbey was a royal monastery in Barking London, described as “one of the most important nunneries in the country”.
It was founded in the 7th century by Saint Erkenwald (later Bishop of London) and dedicated to Saint Mary.
The abbey was endowed by “the East Saxon Princes”, who came from the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of the East Saxons/Kingdom of Essex and later dedicated to both Saint Mary and Saint Ethelburga (the sister of Saint Erkenwald).
By the 10th century it began following the Rule of St. Benedict, a book of precepts written by St. Benedict of Nursia (c.480–547) for monks living communally under the authority of an abbot.
The Abbey had grown to become one of the most powerful monastic institutions in England, but was closed in 1539 as part of Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries. After the dissolution, the abbey was demolished and much of its wealth was sold off.
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