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The foundation by Count Ricdag of the first religious house at Lamspringe for canonesses is conventionally dated at 847. This Augustinian nunnery became Lutheran during the Reformation and was destroyed during the Thirty Years' War in 1626.
In 1628 English Benedictine monks in exile approached the Bursfelde Congregation with a request for premises and in 1630 were granted the derelict buildings at Lamspringe, although they were unable to take possession and begin work on the monastery until the early 1640s, after the end of the Thirty Years' War. The English Benedictines rebuilt the abbey, dedicated to Saints Adrian and Denis, and from 1671 ran a school here for English Catholic boys, mostly from Yorkshire and the north, which became a centre for Catholic education for, and influence on, Great Britain.
Unlike the other English monasteries in exile Lamspringe was a large abbey rather than a small priory, and was wealthy, with wide estates, and the community's wealth and status were reflected in the quality of the building works undertaken. The abbey church, serious work on which began in 1691 under abbot Maurus Corker, and the remaining monastery buildings, executed in rather grand style by abbot Joseph Rokeby up to 1731, still remain virtually intact.
Lamspringe Abbey housed the relics of Saint Oliver Plunkett, taken there in 1684 by the later abbot of Lamspringe, Corker, who had been with him in prison in London, as well as the head of Saint Thomas of Hereford.
The monks, after a period of dispersal, reformed as a community at Broadway in Worcestershire between 1828 and 1841, after which they were spread among other houses, although the community was never formally disbanded. The last surviving members joined the abbey at Fort Augustus (1876-1998) at its foundation.
The church still serves as the parish church, and the still impressive monastic buildings are put to a variety of parish and community uses.
The abbey garden also survives and is one of the attractions of Lamspringe.
- Clement Reyner 1645-
- Maurus Corker 1690-95
- Joseph Rokeby 1730-61
- Maurus Heatley 1761-1802
- (German) Lamspringe Municipality official website: History
- Douai Magazine No 166 - 2003: article on Lamspringe Abbey
- Cramer, A., OSB (ed.), 2004. Lamspringe: an English Abbey in Germany 1643-1803. Saint Laurence Papers VII, Ampleforth.