14th November 1540. Demise of a Monastery: Rise of a Family.

William Paget the son of one of the Sergeants of the Mace of the City of London, had entered King Henry VIII’s service earning him a knighthood in 1527 and appointment as Clerk to The Privy Council in 1540.(1)

The Pagets were now on their way as William became 1st Baron Paget of Beaudesert (Cannock Chase), acquiring extensive lands in that area and those once controlled by Burton Abbey when William Edys the 35th Abbot surrendered the Abbey Today on November, 14th 1540.(2)

However as he went quietly, unlike some, who were executed, Edys became Dean of a new Collegiate Church of Secular Priests (canons) using the old abbey, but this itself was suppressed in 1546.

An early Burton monastic foundation was ascribed to Modwenna (Modwen) in early Anglo-Saxon times. Later a 10thc Charter of Ethelred II (The Unready), confirmed a grant in the will of the Earl of Mercia (Wulfric Spot), of possessions in Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Warwickshire for the foundation of Burton Benedictine Abbey in 1004.

Henry I later confirmed various rights to the Abbey and Abbot Nicholas created the first Burgage [building] Plots in a growing ‘Borough of Burton’ towards the end of 12thc.

Other privileges followed with the right to hold a weekly market and an annual three-day fair.

Burton Abbey though the oldest and largest monastic House in Staffordshire, wasn’t in the same league as Glastonbury or Bury St Edmunds, but was still expected to treat monarchs to expensive hospitality on their visits.

As when William I came to the shrine of St Modwen, and Henry II in 1155. The royal treasure was lodged there in 1186 when John was en-route to Chester in connection with Irish affairs; he was to lodge there again in 1204 and 1208.(3)


Gate House. All that was left of  Burton Abbey until 1930.s..

Burton Abbots were important enough to be called to Parliament as late as 1532.

After the Monastic Dissolution of the 16thc the Barons Paget, as absentee landlords, went on to higher things, becoming from 1743 Earls of Uxbridge, and then Marquises of Anglesey, the latter still extant.

The Paget Monument column and statue to the 1st Marquis of Anglesey (1768-1854) can be seen at Llanfair P.G. Anglesey, Wales.

Continuing to control swathes of Burton into the new Millennium, the Pagets are still commemorated locally in roads, streets and a local school, a pattern replicated with other families throughout the country.

(1) He was next ambassador to France in 1541, Secretary of State and Privy Councillor, 1543, Comptroller of King’s Household 1547, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster 1547, and represented Staffordshire in Parliament 1547-49, serving as Lord Lieutenant of Staffs. in 1551.

(2) He acquired widespread lands including Farewell, Staffs Benedictine Priory and a short-term lease of Conishead, Augustine Priory.

Lands around Burton (Byrtune) acquired included Bromleage (Abbots Bromley), Hilium (Ilam), Winesshylle (Winshill), Rolfestun (Rolleston and Tamworth.

(3) Later came Henry III 1235 and 1251, Edward I in 1275 and 1284, and Edward II in 1322 in his campaign against Thomas 2nd  Earl of Lancaster.


wikipedia.org/burton_abbey and Pagets.


Website on History of Burton/Pic of Gate House.




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About colindunkerley

My name is Colin Dunkerley who having spent two years in the Royal Army Pay Corps ploughed many a barren industrial furrow until drawn to the 'chalk-face' as a teacher, now retired. I have spent the last 15 years researching all aspects of life in Britain since Roman times.

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