Deeds of Kingswood Abbey

Scope and Content

The deeds cover the period 1225-1444, and include grants of land to the abbey, confirmation of grants, accounts of receipt and expenditure, confirmations of privileges, and papal letters.

Administrative / Biographical History

Kingswood Abbey was founded in 1139 by William of Berkeley in accordance with the wishes of his uncle, Roger II of Berkeley, and colonised from the Cistercian house at Tintern. The grant was confirmed by Roger III of Berkeley, son of William, in 1148. The monks moved to Hazleton during the Civil War after Kingswood was confiscated by King Stephen, but were driven back to Kingswood by the owner of Hazleton, Reginald de St. Waleric. As penance, Reginald moved the monks to Tetbury. Roger III complained that his predecessor had founded the abbey, and he would have his lands back unless the monks returned. After a long dispute, the monks were granted a better site at Kingswood near the water, and a new abbey was built. The monastery was surrendered in 1538.

Conditions Governing Access

Accessible to all bona fide readers.

Acquisition Information

Purchased at auction by University of Bristol Special Collections in 1945.


Reputed to contain the oldest surviving Rent Rolls in England.

Compiled by Martin Hall, Assistant Archivist, University of Bristol Special Collections.

Other Finding Aids

Typescript catalogue available in University of Bristol Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission must be obtained from University of Bristol Special Collections.

Custodial History

The fifty deeds concerned were collected and bound by Francis Frederick Fox.

Additional Information

See also DM 121, housed with DM 104 - a written transcript and summary of the Kingswood Abbey deeds compiled by Henley Evans in 1946.

Geographical Names