The Twickenham Museum
Places : East Twickenham and St Margarets

The Bridgettine Monastery of Syon
Founded by Henry V

15th century seal of the monastery with the royal arms of its founder, Henry V

Built to expiate two murders

Syon Monastery of the Order of St Augustine was founded by Henry V in 1414 and built on ground in his manor of Isleworth Syon, on the boundary of the parish of Twickenham. It was one of three which Henry's father, Henry IV had undertaken to build in expiation for his connivance with the murder of Richard II and Archbishop Scrope.

One of the richest monasteries in England

In the royal charter it was named "The Monastery of St Saviour and St Bridget of Syon" and it was first built near where Twickenham Bridge crosses the Thames today. The Order of the most Holy Saviour, more commonly known as the Bridgettine Order, was founded in 1377 by Queen Brigitta or Bridget of Sweden, the great Swedish mystic, later canonized.

The dimensions of the land described in the original charter approximate to about 53 modern acres. In addition, the monastery was endowed with the annual sum of 1000 marks until such time as the revenues from property and land produced an equivalent income. In fact the monastery became one of the richest in England.

Sion House, built largely over the foundations of the Monastery

Henry had established another monastery at Isleworth but it was never occupied by the intended Celestine order. As Frenchmen, their loyalty to Henry was lukewarm - they did not pray for his success in war against their country so he withheld the endowment.

The buildings remained empty until 1431 when the Abbess of the Bridgettines obtained permission to move there from what had turned out to be a damp and crowded property by the river in Twickenham.

Documents relating to the release of tallage (a form of taxation) previously paid by tenants in Isleworth and certain manors in Kent dated 1443 are held in the archives of St Mary's Church, Twickenham.Further reading:A C B Urwin, TWICKNAM PARKE, privately published, 1965

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