Wulfric Spot and Burton
This list of the abbots of Burton from the Anglo Saxon period through to the sixteenth century was probably compiled soon after the election of Abbot William Beyne in 1502. Here we show the index to the text, in the form of a table showing the names of the abbots. A transcript is available in PDF format below the image.
© Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Archive Service, 2011
Abbots of Burton (PDF, 64kb)
The text then opens with the foundation of the abbey by the Mercian nobleman Wulfric Spot and a note of the burial of him and his wife in the abbey church. The document goes on to celebrate the deeds of the abbots, largely relating to the development of the abbey church and the establishment of the neighbouring borough of Burton, on land which the abbey owned.
Wulfric Spot’s generous endowment of the abbey made it one of the wealthiest monastic houses in the country. The estates granted under his will spread across not only Staffordshire but Derbyshire and Warwickshire too. As a result of their extensive landholdings the abbots had economic and political influence, including a seat in the House of Lords. The Staffordshire estates were largely on the border with Derbyshire, along the Trent, Dove and Manifold valleys, with two further groups of manors around Stone and Penkridge.
In 1540 Burton Abbey was dissolved, the monks evicted, and its property annexed to the Crown. Soon after, in 1549, the abbey’s former Staffordshire estates of Burton on Trent and Abbots Bromley, were granted to William, 1st Lord Paget. Paget was one of the most influential political figures of the mid-Tudor period. Starting from fairly humble origins, he became one of Henry VIII’s Secretaries of State, and under Edward VI and Mary I rose to become one of the most powerful men in the kingdom.
We are fortunate that this document, along with much of the Abbey’s archive, including King Æthelred II’s confirmation of Wulfric Spot’s will in 1002, have survived in the Paget family’s papers. Now deposited at Staffordshire Record Office, these wonderful documents are freely available for researchers to use.
Staffordshire Record Office, D603/ADD/X/2