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Romsey Abbey is sandwiched between Church Street
and Church Lane at the western end of the town of Romsey in the Test Valley
district of Hampshire. The Abbey Church of St Mary and St Ethelflaeda
can trace its origins back to 907, the year in which the West Saxon King Edward
the Elder, son of Alfred the Great, first settled some nuns here under the charge
of his daughter, Elflaeda. King Edgar of England refounded the nunnery about 960
under the rule of St Benedict.
The first stone church and nunnery were built about AD 1000
and flourished as a place of education for young nobles. Work began on the
present building around 1120-1180. In 1349, the Black Death cut the number of
nuns. Within the half-empty premises, a second aisle was added to the north side
for St Laurence's Church, for the townspeople. They gained the entire
building in 1544, following the Dissolution, which probably saved the building