Eileen Power’s work on medieval English nunneries laid the foundation for modern scholarship. This paper explores patterns of vocation in the lives of the sisters of Syon Abbey, a major national institution founded by Henry V in 1415. The paper is part of my Syon Abbey Prosopography Project, which traced c. 600 sisters, brothers and patrons c.1400-1600. Their geographical origins show how the royal dynasties of Lancaster, York and Tudor wove their regional affinities into a national elite, contributing to the emergence of the Tudor state. Nuns from loyal families served their royal masters through prayer. Early recruits came from Sweden, and from gentry and merchant families in England’s wealthiest regions: the Midlands, East Anglia, the South West and London. A few aristocratic nuns were effectively political prisoners who entered Syon following family treason. Later recruits came from courtier families settled in counties around London. ‘Syon families’ were loyal to church and crown for generations and were at the heart of opposition to the English Reformation. Although Syon was dissolved in 1539, the sisters defiantly continued to follow the Birgittine Rule in small groups, some in exile. Collectively their lives tell the story of Syon Abbey’s early centuries.
"Lives of the Sisters of Syon Abbey c. 1415-1539: Patterns of Vocation from Syon Martiloge and Other Records,"
Medieval People: Vol. 36:
1, Article 4.
Available at: https://scholarworks.wmich.edu/medpros/vol36/iss1/4