Abbots of Ramsey
WYTHMAN 1016 — 1020
ETHELSTAN 1020 — 1043
ALFWIN 1043 — 1080
ALSI 1080 — 1087
HERBERT DE LOSINGA 1087–1091
BERNARD OF ST ALBANS 1102–1107
ROBERT TRIONELL 1180–1200
ROBERT DE READING 1202–1214
RICHARD DE SELBY 1214–1216
HUGH FOLIOT 1216–1231
WILLIAM DE AKOLT 1253 — 1254
HUGH DE SULGRAVE 1254 — 1267
WILLIAM DE GODMANCHESTER 1267 — 1285
JOHN DE SAWTRY 1285 — 1316
SIMON DE EYE 1316 — 1342
ROBERT DE NASSINGTON 1342 — 1349
RICHARD DE SHENINGTON 1349–1379
EDMUND DE ELLINGTON 1379–1396
THOMAS BUTTERWICK 1396–1419
JOHN TYCHMERCH 1419–1434
JOHN CROWLAND 1434–1435
JOHN STOWE 1435–1468
WILLIAM WITTLESEY 1468–1473
JOHN WARDEBOYS 1473–1489
JOHN HUNTINGDON 1489–1506
HENRY STUKELEY 1506–1507
JOHN LAWRENCE 1507–1539
Alias Wardboys (surrendered the Abbey)
Aednoth First Abbot 993-1008
After the death of Ailwyn, who in is life time took the place of the Abbot as Patron and guardian, Archbishop Alphege brought the Monks together and urged them to choose one from their own Abbey to be their new head.
They chose Aednoth Junior a man of great skills in the rule of St Oswald. The Archbishop presented Aednoth to King Ethelred, and he approving, Aednoth was ordained the first Abbot of the Abbey Church of Ramsey.
In the 9th year of Aednoth’s Abbacy a much prized relic was obtained for the Abbey Church, the supposed remains of the Persian Archbishop St Ivo. The Saints body was found at Slepe, ( now St Ives from the above St Ivo ). Slepe had been given to Ramsey Monastery in the reign of King Edgar, by a noble Saxon Ethelstan Manvesune.
After 16 years as Abbot he was elected to be Bishop of Dorchester. This See , had it’s seat at Dorchester in Oxfordshire, which was once included in the Diocese of Lincoln. It extended over Huntingdonshire and Cambridgeshire, and so Ramsey and Ely were in its jurisdiction.
Aednoth after being 22 years Prior of Ramsey, 16 as Abbot, and 8 as Bishop of Dorchester died on the field of battle at Essenden(Assington ? in Essex). In the reign of Edmund Ironside ( 1016-1017 ) many battles were fought by the English against the invading Danes under Canute. As was the custom, some English clergy would go with the army in order to pray for victory.
Bishop Aednoth, Wulsi- his successor in the Abbey of Ramsey-and other acclesiastics were present with Edmund Ironside at a battle near Essenden ( Assington or Ashdown, in Essex ), and were slain.
At the same time Aylward, son of Duke Ailwyn, was also Killed. The bodies of Aylward and Wulsi were removed from the battle-field and were buried at Ramsey. ( R.H.lxxii )
The body of Bishop Aednoth was also removed, so that it might be buried at Ramsey, where he had spent so many years of his life. On the way back to Ramsey the men accompanying the body stayed for the night at Ely, during the night the body of Bishop Aednoth was removed by the Monks of Ely to a secret place. In the morning the men from Ramsey could not find it. The Ely Monks said that a heavenly light had shone over Aednoth’s remains in the night, and that this was a sign he was to buried in Ely.
According to the Ramsey Chronicler, those from Ramsey being the weaker party, decided to depart quietly.
It was common practice for Abbeys to acquire relics, anyway they could, as the more holy thing they possessed the greater their fame would be.
Wulsi Second Abbot 1008 – 1016
This Abbot was elected 1008 and killed also at the battle of Essenden (Assington ? in Essex) with Bishop Aednoth in 1016.
The Ramsey Chronicler tells us a story about Wulsi saying that due to him being either stingy or afraid of a certain Earl Brithnoth of the East Angles, who had been passing Ramsey to fight the Danes. Excused himself and the Abbey from receiving the Earl and all of his men as guests, with the excuse that they did not have enough food for so many people. Although Wulsi did say that the Earl and several of his men were welcome to join them for food.
Brithnoth was angry about this and went on with his men to Ely where he and his men where well looked after by the Monks. In gratitude the Earl gave the Monks at Ely estates that he had before set aside for the Abbey of Ramsey.
Nevertheless Wulsi bestowed many Manors on the Church of Ramsey, and was buried by the corner of the High Altar. He ruled for 8 years.
Third Abbot Wythman 1016 – 1020
Wythman became the third Abbot in 1016, and in his time the crown was transferred from the English to the Danes ( from Ethelred, after his death, to Cnut , who was chosen by the English)
Wythman was Abbot for 3 years, in the fourth year he went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, on his return he found that Ethelstan had been elected President. Ethelstan would have resigned, but Wythman instead chose to lead a rather solitary life at Northeye, where he lived for 26 years.
*Wythman gave to the Abbey Ringstede (in Norfolk) with all appurtenances and wrecks. Also at the request of Oswald, a monk living with him, and nephew to St Oswald, he gave Windebodsham (Wimbotsham) with a hundred and a half, and 60 soc men, and the market of Soham, with all it’s liberties. This donation was made in the year 1047. *Stevens Monasticon
Ethelstan Fourth Abbot 1020 – 1043
Ethelstan the fourth Abbot, who was President during Wythmans absence, was made Abbot in 1020. He was Abbot for 23 years, until he was killed by an Irish servant in 1043. This servant whom, he had rescued from beggary, and looked after for several years, for some unknown reason stabbed the Abbot through the bowels on the day of St Michael at evening service. It took until the next day for the Abbot to die, not before praying for the pardon of his murderer.
Alfwin Fifth Abbot 1043 – 1080
Alfwin became the fifth Abbot in 1043, was Abbot for 36 years, and in his time William the Conqueror came into England. In the same year died Aielward the Golden Bishop. (Stevens)
According to the (Ramsey History) Alfwin was Abbot for 38 years and not 36, as above.
In Alfwin’s time Alfward , a former monk of Ramsey, who was then Abbot of Evesham and Bishop of London holding the two offices at the same time, became a leper. He resigned is offices and wanted to retire to Evesham, but the monks of Evesham would not receive him. Instead he was accepted at his old Abbey Ramsey, and brought with him precious gifts. Namely the Cheek bone of St Egwin, and the Cowl of the Holy Martyr St Alphege. (Ramsey History)
During Alfwin’s Abbacy Edward the Confessor, instigated by Oswald nephew to Archbishop Oswald and Wythman the Hermit , granted considerable estates and extraordinary privileges to the Abbey. These were confirmed by different charters. (R H )
Edward also became a party to an agreement between the Abbot of Ramsey and Abbot of Burgh (Peterborough) in regard to the exchange of lands; to bounds and limits of King’s-delf; also the right to Ramsey Abbey to dig stone both ‘squared and broken’ at the quarries of Barnack. For this privilege the Abbey had to give the Monks of Peterborough ‘four thousand eels yearly in Lent’ ( R H )
Alsi (Ailsius ?) Sixth Abbot 1080 – 1087
Alsi succeeded as sixth Abbot in 1080 and held the office for 7 years. At the time of his appointment to Ramsey he was Abbot of St Augustine’s ( it’s presumed to be St Augustine’s, Canterbury )
Herbert de Losinga Seventh Abbot 1087 – 1091
Herbert de Losinga the seventh Abbot was chosen in 1087, 4 years afterwards he was made Bishop of Thetford.
Herbert was born from a good county family in Suffolk in about 1050, and took his name Losinga from the part of the country (Normandy) where his father had property, he received his early education at Fe’camp. Where he became a professed Monk, and later a Prior. He was proferred by William Rufus to the Abbacy of the mitred Benedictine Abbey of Ramsey.
Herbert in 1091 seems to have procured for himself the See of Thetford, and his father the Abbacy of Hyde Abbey in Winchester for a sum of £1900! His conscience for this kind of Simony made him go to Rome without the King’s permission, and try to resign. Lucky for him the Pope would not listen and sent him home, and allowed him to change the See to Norwich, which he did in 1094. After two years he laid the first stone of his Cathedral there.
In 1104, he instituted Cluniac Monks at Thetford. In 1106 he built the Benedictine Monastery at Norwich on the south and sunny side of his church, and also attended the grand ceremonial of the second translation of the body of S.Etheldreda at Ely.
In 1107 he was chosen ambassador to Rome with two others, in order to come to some understanding with the Pontiff about lay investitures, and to gain an acknowledgement of his own Episcopal rights over S.Edmund’s Bury Abbey.He failed on both accounts.
His last recorded appearance in public was his following Queen Matilda to her grave. On July 22nd 1119 he died and was laid before the high altar of his Cathedral in a sarcophagus, which its said was probably removed by the Puritans.
He was a prodigous writer and left fourteen sermons, a treatise on the length of the ages, and the end of the world; a book on Monastic constitutions; letters; and an address to Anselm. He also left besides his own, five churches-two in Norwich, one at North Elmham, one at Lynn, and one at Yarmouth. The last two still remain.
Aldwin Eighth Abbot 1091 – 1102 – 1107 – 1111
Aldwin was promoted to Abbot in 1091, he made the Assize at Ramsey, held the Abbacy for eleven years, and was then deposed (Malmesbury says for Simony) in a council by St Anselm. Although (Malmesbury and Cotton MSS. say by Lanfranc) The Archbishop of Canterbury, with Richard Abbot of Ely, and Godrick of Peterborough were also in the council, Aldwin was deposed for five years.
In this time Bernard a Monk of St Albans was made Abbot by the King, but after five years Aldwin regained the Abbacy, and held it for four years before dying. The Abbacy was then vacant for more than a year.
He was the last English Abbot.
Bernard Ninth Abbot 1102 – 1107
Bernard a monk of St Albans, held the Abbacy during the five years Aldwin was deposed, and then died. Upon his death Aldwin was restored as above stated.
Back to top
Reginald Tenth Abbot 1114 – 1133
Reginald succeeded in 1114, and after two years began to build a new Church, into which the convent went after seven years (1123). He was Abbot for sixteen years, and then died. He was said to be “a clever but intemperate man”
Walter Eleventh Abbot 1133 – 1161
Walter was made the eleventh Abbot in 1133, and was Abbot for twenty-seven years. After ten years of his Abbacy he and the Monks of Ramsey were expelled by the notorious Geoffrey de Mandeville, Earl of Essex, who turned the Abbey into a garrison for his soldiers until he was killed at Burwell by the King’s troops. Henry of Huntingdon claimed that blood oozed from the walls of the Church as God showed his anger at what the Earl had done! A Cottonian MS, says that Walter sustained much oppression in the time of William de Lay and Geoffrey de Mandeville.
William Twelfth Abbot 1161 – 1178
William succeeded in 1161, he was made Abbot of Ramsey by the interest of Thomas a Becket. William ruled the Abbey of Ramsey sixteen years, and was then chosen as Abbot of Cluny. The following year (1178) he left Ramsey, and the Ramsey Abbacy was vacant for two years.
Robert Trionell Thirteenth Abbot 1180 – 1200
Robert was chosen in 1180, he was Prior of St Andrew’s at Northampton. In his time, Ralph Prior of Ramsey, was made Abbot of St Benedict of Holme.
Also in his time, in 1192, the bones of St Felix, Ethelred, and Ethelbright were placed in shrines at Ramsey. Robert was Abbot for twenty years.
Eudo Fourteenth Abbot 1200 – 1202
Eudo was Prior of Peterborough, before becoming Abbot of Ramsey in 1200, unfortunately he lived only one year. That same year Acarius, Prior of St Albans, was made Abbot of Peterborough, and St Hugh Bishop of Lincoln died.
Robert de Reading Fifteenth Abbot 1202 – 1207
Robert de Reading, or Robert Abbot of Reading, as he is called in the Cottonian MSS, was elected to the chair at Ramsey in 1202. By the procurement of John de Grey, Chancellor of England, afterwards Bishop of Norwich. Robert was Abbot for five years, and then resigned his Pastoral Staff into the hands of William of Lincoln and received for his maintenance the Manor of Cranfield. In his time the Archbishop of Canterbury appointed three monks to be receivers of all the revenues of the Monastery, and from this year the Monastery continued for seven years without an Abbot. The year after Roberts abdication the Priory Church of St Ives was burnt with all it’s offices AD 1207?
Robert died at Reading, and King John held the Abbacy in his own hands for seven years, because the Monks of Ramsey would not choose the Prior of Fronton as their Abbot.
Richard de Selby Sixteenth Abbot 1214 – 1216
Richard de Selby was the Abbot of Selby, and was elected to be Abbot of Ramsey in 1214, by Nicholas Bishop of Tusculam, Cardinal and Legate. In this same year the Legate took off the inderdict in England.
An interdict is an ecclesiastical censure by which the Pope of Rome forbids the administration of the Sacraments, and the celebration of any religious services or offices in a Kingdom, Province, Town. It is a wholesale major excommunication. In the same year the said Legate deposed the Abbots of Westminster, Evesham, and Bardeney. In the following year the Church of Ramsey was robbed of much of it’s wealth. Richard lived two years.
Hugh Foliot Seventeenth Abbot 1216 – 1231
Hugh Foliot Prior of Ramsey, was made Abbot in 1216, and lived fourteen years. He received his benediction from the Bishop of Bath. The Royal assent was given to his election on June the 14th.
In his time 1218, Silvester, formerly a Monk, afterwards a Bishop of Worcester, died at Ramsey, and his bowels were buried before the high altar of the blessed Virgin, but is body was carried to Worcester.
Ranulf (Ralf) Eighteenth Abbot 1231 – 1253
Ranulf Prior of Ramsey was chosen Abbot in 1231. The Royal assent was given to his election on the 22nd July.
Three years after, King Henry III visited Ramsey, the first King of England to do so. He arrived on the feast of St Matthias, and remained for four days.
In Ranulf’s sixth year the Church of St Ives was dedicated, and in the eighth year he was made a Justice of Norwich. He was Abbot of Ramsey for 22 years.
A statement of the revenues arising from the lands of the Abbey during this time is given in the Cottonian MS., Galba E.x. fol.10 p.
According to Matthew Paris in this Abbots time , the Abbey Church received a new dedication in 1238 AD.
William de Akolt Nineteenth Abbot 1253 – 1254
William de Akolt was elected in 1253, he received the Royal assent on October 10th, 1253, and was blessed by the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury. He lived as Abbot for one year.
In the time of this Abbot a dispute began with the King ( Henry III ) respecting the fair of St Ives. The free possession of the Fair, according to the Charters of the Abbey, was not recovered for near six years. The controversy is told by Matthew Paris.
Upon the death of William de Akolt on the 16th November 1254, the custody of the Abbey seems to have been committed to the Abbot of Pershore and Henry de Malo Lacu.
Hugh de Sulgrave ( Solegrave ) Twentieth Abbot 1254 – 1267
Hugh de Sulgrave was elected, according to the Exchequer Register in 1254. The Royal assent was given to his election on January 1st.
The next year, Master William of Kilkenny, the King’s Chancellor, was elected Bishop of Ely, who having obtained the episcopal dignity, very much oppressed the Church of Ramsey. The same year the Pope granted King Henry a tenth of all ecclesiastical revenues from all the Clergy, and the Monasteries of England were obliged to this payment. In the court of Rome the Bishop of Hereford fined Ramsey 624 marks.
In the fourth year of this Abbot, William Brito, the kings Justice, made a Goal-delivery of Ramsey at Winebodesham (Wimbotsham) in the Hundred of Clacclose, of many robbers taken within and outside of the Abbott’s Liberty.
Abbot Hugh began the Refectory, made St Ivo’s Shrine, and a Silver-gilt table for the High Altar. He also purchased Gravenhurst, and aquired many other land tenements and buildings.
He ruled the Abbey for thirteen and a half years and died.
This abbot Hugh and the Bishop of Ely had several disputes about the boundaries of their Fen-land, which not settled until about 1256.
Matthew Paris tells us ” In the year of 1256, William the Bishop of Ely, and Hugh Abbot of Ramsey, came to an agreement over the boundaries of their Fen-land.
William de Gurmecestre Twenty-first Abbot 1267-1285
William de Gurmecestre was chosen, and confirmed by the Legate Ottobormes, in the year 1267.
He purchased from Berengarius le Moyne, the Manors of Bernewell, Hemington, Conthorpe, and Littlethorpe, with the advowson of the Church of St Andrew Bernewell, in 1276.
The good deeds of this Abbot are chronicled at great length in a Cottonian MS, and also by Dugdale.
In 1276 the Abbey first used the new Refectory ( no mention is made of when it had been started ), in the following year William built a costly Conduit, and a new Cistern in the-court a noble reservoir for the water. He built also a new Abbot’s Hall, and placed a gate in the west side of the court. He made an image for the tomb of Count Ailwyn, founder of Ramsey Abbey, of the clearest brass, subtle in workmanship, very costly and splendid in guilding. Willliam was Abbot for eighteen years, and in the nineteenth was struck with the palsey, for which reason he resigned his pastoral staff, and voluntarily quitted his office; after which he lived a year and two months and then died.
From the Cottonian MSS, Galba E. x, Dugdale quotes a list of about ninety officers and servants of the Abbey in the time of William de Gurmecestre; fifteen paupers were also on the list of retainers. The wages of the officers and the servants were paid partly in money, partly in bread or flour, and partly by allotments of land. Of the money payments some were made directly by the Abbot, or from funds under his control, and others by the cellarer.
The list of officers and servants includes a Chaplain (this is possibly the Chaplain of the Parish Church, whose payment is referred to in many schedules of accounts of the time ) porters, stewards and bailiff, gatekeepers, attendants in the Church and in the infirmary, washerwomen of the Church and Abbey, cooks for the Monks and Abbots’ Hall, keeper of the Cellar, woodmen, herdsmen, millers, brewers, fishermen, carpenters, masons, tailors, gardeners, ploughmen.
The Abbey also required services, for the privilege of living and working on the land owned by the Abbey, this was all tied up with the Monastic Administration.
John de Sautre ( Sawtry ) Twenty-second Abbot 1285 – 1316
John of Sawtry was made Abbot in 1285, and according to the Exchequer Register, paid 2000 marks fine for the custody of his house during it’s vacancy? King Edward II had extorted from him, the one half of all the revenues of the Abbey according to the valuation.
In 1309 Isabella de Valois, Queen of England, and daughter of the King of France, stayed eighteen days at Ramsey Abbey, to the great expense of the Abbot.
“The King (Edward III) accompanied by his mother (Isabella), his brother, and his two sisters, had already set out for the North when he issued a proclamation :–‘ All the forces of his kingdom should meet him at Newcastle-on-Tyne, to commence his wars with Scotland ‘ ; it was dated from Ramsey, a village ten miles from Huntingdon” Longman’s Life and Times of Edward 111, vol. 1, p,10
The above took place in 1327, but the R.H. gives us 1309 as the date of Isabella’s eighteen days stay at Ramsey. She may have made two visits ?
Abbot John acquired lands and tenements for the Abbey, out of which he assigned Ten Pounds to the Convent for hose and shoes. It was during his Abbacy, around 1310, that John was given, by his cellarer William of Grafham the gift of the wonderful Ramsey Psalter. He lived thirty years, and was blind for six before his death, but did not resign.
Simon de Eye Twenty-third Abbot 1316 – 1342
The twenty-third Abbot Simon de Eye, professor of Cannon Law, received the Royal assent to his election on December 19th 1316. He received the Bishop of Lincoln’s confirmation on the 19th of January following.
Costly Royal visits continued when the Queen Isabella of France and Princess Eleanor her Daughter stayed at the Abbey for two days in 1330 and the King, Edward III, Queen Isabella and their entire household visited for four days in 1334.
Simon purchased land for the Monastery in Hauker, or Howker , and contributed to the new work of the Church, which he is said to have begun ( “who new-built the eastern part of the Church ,”according to Brayley, p . 524), and acquired much more in his time.
He governed the Abbey 26 years and then died. He was buried in the new building on the left side of the high altar.
Robert de Nassington Twenty fourth Abbot 1342 – 1349
Robert de Nassington was elected, and to him the temporalities of the Monastery were restored January 22nd 1342. He did many wonderful things in his life; he was Abbot for six and a half years, and died in 1349, in the time of the Plague. He was buried in the new building on the right side of the altar.
Richard de Shenington Twenty-fifth Abbot 1349 – 1379
Richard Shenington, or Shenynton, to whom the temporalities were restored August 21st 1349, in the time of the Plague, is stated to have been burdened with his predecessor’s debts to the amount of 2500 marks, beside the ordinary charges at the time of his creation.
He was elected on the day after the feast of St Mary of Magdalen, and blessed on St Bartholomew’s Day 1349.
His death was announced to the King ( Richard II ), November 11th 1379
Edmund de Ellington Twenty-sixth Abbot 1379 – 1396
Edmund de Ellington the Twenty sixth Abbot, received the Royal assent to his election on the 28th November 1379. Of this Abbott there are few details.
He died September 18th 1396.
Thomas Butterwick Twenty-seventh Abbot 1396 – 1419
Thomas Butterwick was the Twenty-seventh Abbot. According to the Exchequer Register, he began his Abbacy in 1400, but the entry on the Patent Rolls states that the temporalities of the Monastery were restored to him on November 2nd 1396.
His confirmation is also noticed in the registers of that diocese, as having been given on the eve of St Simon and St Jude.
He died in the beginning of his 24th year, about the feast of All Saints. There seems to be some doubt as to the date of his death, we are given it as in the 24th year of his rule; but the next Abbott is said to have been elected in 1419 !
John Tychmerch Twenty-eighth Abbot 1419 – 1434
John Tychmerch the Twenty-eighth Abbot was elected in the month of October to the Abbacy, was confirmed as Abbott on the 8th November 1419. He died on the vigil of the Assumption 1434.
He was a noble father, who repaired that which was decayed, and erected new Buildings.
John Crowland Twenty-ninth Abbot 1434 – 1436
John Crowland ( or Croyland ) was elected Abbot August 27th 1434. He received the Bishop of Lincoln’s confirmation October 3rd following; after which he lived for a year and a half , and died on 13th April 1436.
John Stowe Thirtieth Abbot 1436 – 1468
John Stowe the Thirtieth Abbot was elected on the 4th April 1436. By his industrious work, a licence was obtained from King Edward IV, for the purchase of the Manor of Le Moyne, with it’s appurtenances in Raveley and Sautre ( Sawtry )
Having governed the Monastery 32 years, and being disabled by age and weakness, he resigned his pastoral staff.
He lived three years after, when he died, and was buried before the altar of St John the Baptist, on the north side of the Church.
( The names of the Abbotts following are taken from Mr Willis (( Hist. Mit. Abb. page 156 )) where he makes this John Stowe the 31st Abbott, which is brought about by his reckoning Aldwin twice. Because Aldwin had been once deposed, and again restored. Whereas he was only mentioned once in Stevens Monasticon)
William Wittelsey Thirty-first Abbot 1468 – 1473
William Wittlesey or ( Whytlesey ) was made Abbot October 19th 1468, he ruled four years.
John Wardeboys Thirty-second Abbot 1473 – 1489
Nothing known about this Abbot.
John Huntingdon Thirty-third Abbot 1488 – 1506
John Huntingdon was elected 1488, the temporalities of the Monastery were restored to him July 26th.
Henry Stewekly Thirty-fourth Abbot 1506 – 1507
Henry Stewekly or ( Stukeley ) had the temporalities restored to him April 16th 1506. He governed for one year.
John Lawrence Thirty-fifth and last Abbot 1507 – 1539
John Lawrence alias Wardeboys received the temporalities 1507 or 1508, he was born in Warboys Huntingdonshire. Wood informs us that in 1519 he, being then Abbot of Ramsey, supplicated at Oxford for the degree of B.D.
John Lawrence continued as Abbot until the Dissolution in 1539. He was very forward in procuring not only his own Abbey to be surrendered to the King’s use, but influenced others to submit, for which wicked service he obtained a large pension of £266 13s 6d per Annum. He also aquired Bodsey House.
Visits to the Abbey in 1535 and 1536 by Thomas Bedyll, one of King Henry VIII’s Commissioners under his vicar General, Thomas Cromwell. He was shown charters of Kings Edgar and Edward the Confessor exempting the Abbot and his monks from the power of all Bishops and making them subject to the King. In consequence “the Bishop of Rome had nothing to do with them!” This is probably why he was able to report to Cromwell that the Abbot and his brethren were well content to accept the King as supreme head of the Church in England. Similarly Sir Richard Cromwell could tell his uncle, Thomas that the Abbot and his men were agreeable to everything, which the Commissioners willed to be done.
The Abbey held these Charters from King Edgar and Edward the Confessor exempting it from the power of all Bishops, which included the Bishop of Rome, and making it subject only to the King. In consequence the Abbot and his convent had no difficulty in accepting King Henry VIII as the supreme head of the Church in England, and being agreeable to all the wishes of the King’s Commissioners. Indeed before their arrival, the Abbot had King Edgars charter read from the pulpit in support of Henry’s claim to supremacy.
Abbot John was so well regarded by King Henry, that he was desired to assist at the Funeral of Queen Jane (Seymour) in 1537.
All the Abbey’s compliance was of no use when, in 1539, passed an act for the Dissolution of the Greater Monasteries. The Abbot was awarded an annual pension of £266 13s 6d, and Bodsey House. His brethren received smaller pensions.
In his will John Lawrence instructed his executors to pay £13. 6s . 8d towards the building of a steeple for the Parish Church of Ramsey “which the Town will build”
For a more in-depth description of the final years of Ramsey Abbey under John Lawrence follow this link.