Chertsey Abbey

Chertsey Abbey
Chertsey Abbey

Ruins of Chertsey Abbey
Monastery information
Order Benedictine
Established 666
refounded: 964
Disestablished 1537
Dedicated to St Peter
Founder(s) Saint Erkenwald
Important associated figures King Frithuwald of Surrey
King Henry VI
Location Chertsey,
Surrey, England
Coordinates 51°23′42″N 0°30′11″W / 51.3950°N 0.5031°W / 51.3950; -0.5031Coordinates: 51°23′42″N 0°30′11″W / 51.3950°N 0.5031°W / 51.3950; -0.5031
Visible Remains Yes
Public Access Yes

Chertsey Abbey, dedicated to St Peter, was a Benedictine monastery located at Chertsey in the English county of Surrey.

It was founded by Saint Erkenwald, later Bishop of London, in 666 AD and he became the first abbot. In the 9th century it was sacked by the Danes and refounded from Abingdon Abbey by King Edgar of England in 964. Most of north-west Surrey was granted to the abbey by King Frithuwald of Surrey. In the eleventh century the monks engineered the Abbey River as an offshoot of the River Thames to supply power to the abbey's watermill. In late medieval times, the Abbey became famous as the burial place of King Henry VI (whose body was later transferred to St George's Chapel, Windsor). The abbey was dissolved by the commissioners of King Henry VIII in 1537 but the community moved to Bisham. The site was given to Sir William Fitzwilliam and now only slight traces remain amongst later buildings. Some very fine medieval tiles from the abbey, some depicting the legend of Tristan and Iseult, may be seen in the British Museum.

Saint Beocca was also buried here around 870 AD

One of the Abbey's bells, cast by a Wokingham foundry circa 1380 and weighing just over half a ton is still in use as the 5th of the ring of eight at St Peter's church, Chertsey, and is one of the oldest bells in current use in Surrey.

Chertsey Abbey is mentioned in William Shakespeare's Richard III, Act I, Scene 2.

From the ruins of the abbey, individual letter tiles dating to the second half of the 13th century were recovered.[1] They were assembled to form religious inscription texts on the floor and can be considered a forerunner of movable type printing.[2]

The Worshipful Company of Haberdashers holds the advowson of St Peter's, Chertsey nowadays.


  1. ^ Lehmann-Haupt 1940, pp. 96f.
  2. ^ Brekle 1997, pp. 61f.