|Dorsetshire's early monastic institutions were either Cistercian or Benedictine. St. Augustine visited England around 600 AD, and introduced Benedictine rule. |
At the time of the Domesday Survey c.1080, shortly following the Conquest, these were the English Religious houses in existence in Dorsetshire:
Of course they were also principal land-holders as well. Much of the buildings in Dorset have been lost; on the other hand there is much still to see.
- Cranborn Priory, founded by Ailward in 981, which held four manors.
- Cerne Abbey, founded by Ailmer earl of Cornwall, in the reign of Edgar, held fourteen manors, the abbot in 1080 was Withelm.
- Milton Abbey, founded by King Athelstan about 933, held sixteen manors.
- Abbotsbury Abbey, founded by Orcus, steward to King Canute about 1026, held seven manors.
- Horton Priory, founded by Earl Ordgar (earl of Devon) before 970, held the manor in which it stood.
- Shaftesbury Nunnery, founded by King Alfred about 888, held 14 or 15 manors. The abbess in 1080 was Eularia.
- Sherborn Abbey, founded by Bishop Wulfin in 998, held nine manors for the maintenance of their table.
- The Collegiate Church of Winborn, founded by one of our Kings by the name of Edward, also held a number of manors.