Bath Abbey

[Bath Abbey] Bath, England, founded, 676, by King Osric for a community of nuns. It subsequently passed to the Benedictines, and was reformed by Saint Dunstan. King Edgar was crowned in the abbey-church, 973. Saint Elphege was abbot for a time. In 1088 William Rufus granted the abbey and lands to John of Villula, Bishop of Wells, who later restored the lands to the abbey. Destroyed by fire, 1137, it was later rebuilt. In the 13th century a dispute arose between the monks and the canons of Wells as to their respective rights in electing the bishop. By a decree of Innocent IV the election was held alternately in either city, the bishop had a throne in both churches, and was thenceforth styled Bishop of Bath and Wells. The monastery was suppressed, 1539, and the present church occupies only the nave of the Norman structure begun, 1500, to replace John of Villula's church. It was restored, 1874. See also the patron saints index.

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