Research Guide

This research guide is a list of resources to help both scholars who are coming to the topic for the first time, as well as those continuing their research. The organizing sections are by no means definitive but intended to provide some guidance.

We are still in the process of adding resources and expanding with selected annotations. If you have any related references to contribute, suggestions about the guide in general, or corrections, please email us at


Aungier, G.J. The History and Antiquities of Syon Monastery: The Parish of Ilseworth and the Chapelry of Hounslow. London: J.B. Nichols & Son, 1840.

Barron, Caroline and Mary Erler. “The Making of Syon Abbey’s Altar Table of Our Lady c.1490-96.” In England and the Continent in the Middle Ages: Studies in Memory of Andrew Martindale: Proceedings of the 1996 Harlaxton Symposium, edited by John Mitchell, 318-35. Stanford: Shaun Tyas, 2000.

Batho, G R. Syon House: The First Two Hundred Years, 1431-1632. London: Middlesex Archaeological Society, 1956.

Beckett, Neil. “St. Bridgit, Henry V, and Syon Abbey.” In Studies in St. Birgitta and the Brigittine Order, edited by James Hogg, 125-50. Salzburg, 1993.

Cnattingius, Hans. Studies in the Order of St. Bridget of Sweden I: The Crisis in the 1420s. Almqvist och Wiksell, 1963.

Dugdale, William, Sir. “Syon Nunnery, in Middlesex.” In Dugdale’s Monasticon Vol. 6 Part 1, 540-44.  London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme & Brown, 1814-30.

Erler, Mary C. “Syon’s Special Benefactors and Friends: Some Vowed Women.” In Birgittiana 2, 209-22. Naples, 1996.

Fletcher, John Rory. The Story of the English Bridgettines of Syon Abbey. South Brent: The Burleigh Press, 1933.

Geddes-Brown, Leslie. “Syon Awakes.” Town & Country, January 1st, 1998.

Hogg, J. The Contribution of the Brigittine Order to Late Medieval English Spirituality. Analecta Cartusiana35:153. Salzburg, 1983.

Howse, Christopher. Sacred Mysteries: “The Survival of England’s Syon.” The Daily Telegraph, October 18th, 2008.

Hutchison, Ann M. “Transplanting the Vineyard: Syon Abbey 1539-1861.” In Der Birgittenorden in der frühen Neuzeit Beiträge der internationalen Tagung vom 27, edited byWilhelm Liebhart, 19-107. Frankfurt: Lang, 1998.

Johnston, F R. Syon Abbey: A Short History of the English Bridgettines. London: Eccles and District History Society, 1964.

Powell, Sue. “Margaret Pole and Syon Abbey.” In Historical Research 78:202. 2005.

Powell, Sue. “Syon Abbey and the Mother of Henry VII.” In Seven Centuries of Birgittine Spirituality and Culture. Paper presented at Jubilee Symposium, Vadstena, Sweden, 2006.

Steele, Francesca M. The Story of the Bridgettines. New York: Benziger Bros, 1910.


Archeological Work

Dunning, R. W. “The Building of Syon Abbey.”  In Transactions of the Ancient Monuments Society, 16-26. London: The Society, 1981.

Foyle, Jonathan. “Syon Park: Rediscovering Medieval England’s Only Bridgettine Monastery.” In Current Archaeology, 16:12:192, 550-5. London: W.A. Selkirk, 2004.

Grove, Jeremy. “Syon Abbey – Birkbeck Training Dig 2004.” In Society News: The Bulletin of Enfield Archaeological Society, 174, 6-7. Middlesex, 2004.

Hammond, Norman. “Excavations Reveal the Scale of Syon.” The Times, July 31st, 2006.


Saint Birgitta

Andersson, Aaron. Saint Bridget of Sweden. London: Catholic Truth Society, 1980.

Ellis, Roger. “‘Flores ad Fabricandam Coronam’: An Investigation into the Uses of the Revelations of St. Bridget of Sweden in Fifteenth-Century England.” In Medium Aevum, 51:163-86. 1982.

Ellis, Roger. The Liber Celestis of St. Bridget of Sweden. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987.

Fein, Susanna, ed. “John Audelay and the Bridgettines.” In My Wyl and My Wrytyng: Essays on John the Blind Audelay, 191-217. Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute Publications, 2009.

Harris, Marguerite Tjader, ed. Birgitta of Sweden: Life and Selected Revelations. New York: Paulist Press, 1990.

Holloway, J. Bolton. Saint Bride and her Book: Birgitta of Sweden’s ‘Revelations.’ D.S. Brewer, 2000.

Johnston, F.R. The English Cult of St. Bridged of Sweden. Analecta Bollandiana 103:75-93. 1985.

Morris, Bridget. St. Birgitta of Sweden. Rochester: Boydell Press, 1999.

Redpath, Helen Mary Dominic. God’s Ambassadress, St. Bridget of Sweden. Milwaukee: Bruce Publishing Company, 1947.

Rice, Nicole, ed. “Poetry as Prayer: John Audelay’s ‘Salutation to St Bridget’.” In Middle English religions Writings in Practice. Brepols, forthcoming.

Sahlin, Claire. Birgitta of Sweden and the Voice of Prophecy. Rochester: Boydell Press, 2001.

Zieman, Katherine. “Playing Doctor: St. Birgitta, Ritual Reading, and Ecclesiastical Authority.” In Voices in Dialogue: Reading Women in the Middle Ages, edited by Linda Olsen and Kathryn Kerby-Fulton. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2005.



Barratt, Alexandra. “Singing from the Same Hymn-Sheet.” In Design and Distribution of Late Medieval Manuscripts from England, 139-60. York: The University of York, York Medieval Press, 2008.

Blunt, John. The Myroure of our Ladye. London: N. Trubner & Co., 1873.

Collins, Arthur Jeffries. The Bridgettine Breviary of Syon Abbey: from the MS with English Rubrics. Worcester: Stanbrook Abbey Press, 1969.

Hogg, James, ed. A Book of Uses of Syon Abbey. Analecta Cartusiana 35:13. 1991.

Powell, Sue. “Cox MS 39: A Rare Survival of Sermons Preached at Syon Abbey.” In Medieval Sermon Studies, 42-62. Maney Publishing, 2008.

Powell, Sue. “Preaching at Syon Abbey.” In Leeds Studies in English. University of Salford, 2000.

Proctor, F. and E. S. Dewick. The Martirologe in Englysshe After the Use of the Chirche of Salisbury and as It Is Redde in Syon with Addicyons. Henry Bradshaw Society III, 1893.

Yardley, Anne Bagnall. “Bridgettine Spirituality and Musical Practices at Syon Abbey”. In Studies in St Birgitta and the Brigittine Order Vol. 2, 199-214,edited by James Hogg. Salzburg, 1993.


Spiritual Life and Devotional Texts

Bainbridge, Virginia. “The Bridgettines and Major Trends in Religious Devotion c.1400-1600: with reference to Syon Abbey, Mariatroon and Marienbaum.” In Birgittiana 19, 225-40. Naples, 2005.

Ellis, Roger. “Further Thoughts on the Spirituality of Syon Abbey.” In Mysticism and Spirituality in  Medieval England, edited by Pollard and Boenig, 219-243. Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 1997.

Ellis, Roger. Syon Abbey: The Spirituality of the English Bridgettines. Analecta Cartusiana 68:2. Salzburg, 1984.

Ellis, Roger. “Viderunt eam Filie Syon: The Spirituality of the English House of a Medieval Contemplative Order from its Beginnings to the Present Day.”  Analecta Cartusiana 2:68. Salzburg, 1984.

Gillespie, Vincent. “Dial M for Mystic: Mystical Texts in the Library of Syon Abbey and the Spirituality of the Syon Brethren.” In The Medieval Mystical Tradition in England, VI, edited by M. Glasscoe, 241-68. Cambridge, 1999.

Gillespie, Vincent. “‘Hid diuinite’: the Spirituality of the English Syon Brethren.”  In The Medieval Mystical Tradition In England, 189-206. Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 1980-2004.

Gillespie, Vincent. “Syon and the New Learning.” In The Religious Orders in Pre-Reformation England, edited by James G. Clark, 75-95. Woodbridge, 2002.

Gillespie, Vincent. “Walter Hilton at Syon Abbey.” In Stand Up to Godwards: Essays in Mystical and Monastic Theology in Honour of the Reverend John Clark on his Sixty-Fifth Birthday, edited by James Hogg, Analecta Cartusiana 204:9-61. Salzburg, 2002.

Grisé, C. Annette. Syon Abbey in Late-Medieval England: Gender and Reading, Bodies and Communities, Piety and Politics. PhD diss., University of Western Ontario, 1998.

Grisé, C. Annette. “The Textual Community of Syon Abbey.” Florilegium 19 (2002), 149-162.

Grisé, C. Annette.“Women’s Devotional Reading in Late Medieval England and the Gendered Reader.Medium Aevum 71:2 (2002), 209-225

Hutchison, Anne. “Devotional Reading in the Monastery and in the Late Medieval Household.” In De Cella in Seculum: Religious and Secular Life and Devotion in Late Medieval England, edited by Michael G. Sargent, 215-28. Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 1989.

Hodgson, Phyllis. The Orcherd of Syon and English Mystical Tradition. London, 1965.

Hogg, James, The Contribution of the Brigittine Order to Late-Medieval English Spirituality.  Analecta Cartusiana 35:10. Salzburg, 1983.

Hogg, James. “Syon MS 6 – A Medieval Brigittine Lectionary for the Use of the Syon Sisters.” Analecta Cartusiana 35:10. Salzburg, 1990.

Olsen, Ulla. “Work and Work Ethics in the Nunnery of Syon Abbey in the Fifteenth-Century.” In The Medieval Mystical Tradition in England: Exeter Symposium V, edited by Marion Glasscoe, 129-143. Cambridge: D.S.Brewer, 1992.

Pezzini, Domenico. “Brigittine Tracts of Spiritual Guidance in Fifteenth-Century England: A Study in Translation.” In The Medieval Translator II, 175-207. 1991.

Powell, Sue. “Syon, Caxton, and the Festial.” In Birgittiana 2, 187-207Naples, 1996.

Rhodes, J. T. “Religious Instruction at Syon in the Early Sixteenth-Century”.  In Studies in St Birgitta and the Brigittine Order Vol. 2, edited by James Hogg, 151-69. Salzburg, 1993.

Tait, M.B. “The Brigittine Monastery of Syon (Middlesex) with Special Reference to its Monastic Uses.” PhD diss., Oxford, 1975.

Walker, Claire. “Continuity and Isolation: The Bridgettines of Syon in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries.” In Syon Abbey and its Books: Reading, Writing and Religion, c.1400-1700, edited by E.A. Jones and Alexandra Walsham. Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, 2010.

Waters, Claire. “Holy Familiars: Enclosure, Work, and the Saints at Syon Abbey.” In Philological Quarterly Vol. 87. University of Iowa, 2008.


Legislative Texts

Anderson, Elin. Responsiones Vadstenenses: Perspectives on the Birgitting Rule in Two Texts from Vadstena and Syon Abbey. Stockholm: Stockholms Universitet, 2011.

Hogg, James. A Brigittine Legislative Collection.  Analecta Cartusiana 35:9. Salzburg, 1990.

Hogg, James. Brigittine Legislation for Syon Abbey Lisbon. Analecta Cartusiana 35:14. Salzburg, 1991.

Hogg, James. Carthusian Abstinence: Birgittine Legislation for Syon Abbey Lisbon 35:14. Salzburg: Edwin Millen Press, 1991.

Hogg, James. “A Miscellaneous MS of Syon Abbey.” In A Treatise Containing Some Rules and Important Advices, How to Say the Divine Office with Due Attention and Devotion. Analecta Cartusiana 35:16. Salzburg, 1992.

Hogg, James. Processionale for the Use of the Sisters of Syon Abbey. Analecta Cartusiana35:11. Salzburg, 1991.

Hogg, James. The Rewyll of Seynt Sauioure and other Middle English Brigittine Legislative Texts. Salzburg, 1980.

Hogg, James. “Syon Abbey MS 18 – A Looking Glace for the Religious.” In Richard Whytford. Salzburg, 1991.

Miles, Laura. “St Bridget of Sweden.” In History of British Women’s Writing, Vol. 1, edited by Diane Watt and Liz Herbert McAvoy, 700-1500. London: Palgrave, 2011.


Women and Reading

Bainbridge, Victoria R. “Syon Abbey: Women and Learning c.1415-1600.”  In Syon Abbey and its Books: Reading, Writing and Religion, c.1400-1700, edited by  E.A. Jones and Alexandra Walsham. Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, 2010.

Bainbridge, Virginia. “Women and the Transmission of Religious Culture: Benefactresses of Three Bridgettine Convents c 1400-1600.” In Birgittiana 3, 55-76. Naples, 1997.

Bowden, Caroline. “Books and Reading at Syon Abbey, Lisbon in the Seventeenth Century.” In Syon Abbey and its Books: Reading, Writing and Religion, c.1400-1700, edited by  E.A. Jones and Alexandra Walsham. Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, 2010.

Erler, Mary C. Women, Reading and Piety in Late Medieval England.Cambridge University Press, 2002.

Grise, C. Annette. “‘In the Blessid Vynezrd Oure Holy Sauouer’: Female Religious Readers and Textual Reception.” In Myroure of Oure Lady and the Orcherd of Syon, edited by Marion Glasscoe, 193-211. Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 1999.

Hutchison, Ann. “Mary Champney: A Bridgettine Nun Under the Rule of Queen Elizabeth I.” In Birgittiana 13, 3-89. Naples, 2002.

Hutchison, Ann. “What the Nuns Read: Literary Evidence from the English Bridgettine House, Syon Abbey.” In Mediaeval Studies, 205-22. Toronto: Pontificial Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 2005.

Johnston, F.R. “Joan North, First Abbess of Syon, 1420-33.” In Birgittiana 1, 47-68. Naples, 1996.

Krug, Rebecca. “Reading at Syon Abbey.” In Reading Families: Women’s Literate Practice in Late Medieval England. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2002.

Miles, Laura. “Looking in the Past for a Discourse of Motherhood: Birgitta of Sweden and Julia Kristeva.” In Medieval Feminist Forum Vol. 47.  Forthcoming 2012.

Schirmer, Elizabeth. “Reading Lessons at Syon Abbey: The Myoure of Oure Ladye and the Mandates of Vernacular Theology.” In Voices in Dialogue: Reading Women in the Middle Ages, edited by Linda Olsen and Kathryn Kerby-Fulton. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2005.

Urban, Malte and Georgiana Donavin, ed. “Women Readers and Pierpont Morgan MS M.126.” In John Gower: Manuscripts, Readers and Contexts, 67-83. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2009.


The Libraries, Manuscripts & Printing

Bateson, Mary. Catalogue of the Library of Syon Monastery. Cambridge: The University Press, 1898.

Bell, David. What Nuns Read: Books and Libraries in Medieval English Nunneries. Kalamazoo: Cistercian Publications, 1995.

Bowden, Caroline. “Books and Reading at Syon Abbey, Lisbon in the Seventeenth Century.” In Syon Abbey and its Books: Reading, Writing and Religion, c.1400-1700, edited by  E.A. Jones and Alexandra Walsham. Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, 2010.

Driver, Martha. “Bridgettine Woodcuts in Printed Books Produced for the English Market.” In Art into Life: Papers from the Kresge Art Museum Symposium, fifth anniversary volume, 237-267. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 1995.

Dunning, R. W. “The Building of Syon Abbey.”  In Transactions of the Ancient Monuments Society, 16-26. London: The Society, 1981.

Erler, Mary, “Syon Abbey’s Care for Books.” In Scriptorium, 39:293-307. 1985.

Gillespie, Vincent. “The Book and the Brotherhood: Reflections on the Lost Library of Syon Abbey.” In The English Medieval Book: Essays in Memory of Jeremy Griffiths, 185-208. London: The British Library Publishing Division, 2000.

Gillespie, Vincent. “Dial M for Mystic: Mystical Texts in the Library of Syon Abbey and the Spirituality of the Syon Brethren.” In The Medieval Mystical Tradition in England, VI, edited by M. Glasscoe, 241-68. Cambridge, 1999.

Gillespie, Vincent. “The Mole in the Vineyard: Wyclif at Syon in the Fifteenth Century.”  In Text and Controversy from Wyclif to Bale: Essays in Honour of Anne Hudson, 131-62. Turnhout: Brepols, 2005.

Gillespie, Vincent. Syon Abbey: Corpus of British Medieval Library Catalogues 9, edited by A. I. Doyle. London: Libraries of the Cathusians, 2001.

Gillespie, Vincent. “Syon and the English Market for Continental Printed Books: The Incunable Phase.” In Religion and Literature, 1-23. University of Notre Dame, 2005.

Gillespie, Vincent. “A Syon Manuscript Reconsidered.” In Notes and Queries 30:203-5. 1983.

de Hamel, Christopher. The Library of the Bridgettine Nuns and Their Peregrinations After the Reformation. Roxburghe Club, 1991.

Driver, Martha. The Image in Print: Book Illustration in Late Medieval England and its Sources. British Library Publications, 2007.

Hamilton, Don Adam. “A Preface, Written by Father Robert Parsons to the History of the Wanderings at Syon.” In The Angel of Syon. The Life and Martyrdom of Blessed Richard Reynolds, Birgittine Monk of Syon, Martyred at Tyburn, May 4, 1535, 97-113. Edinburgh, 1905.

Hedlund, M. “Katillus Thornberi: A Syon Pioneer and His Books.” In Birgittiana 1, 67-87. Naples, 1996.

Hogg, James. “Brigittine Manuscripts Preserved at Syon Abbey.” In Studies in St Birgitta and the Brigittine Order Vol. 2. Salzburg, 199

Jones, Eddie, and A. Walsham. “Syon Abbey and its Books: Origins, Influences and Transitions.” In Syon Abbey and Its Books, 1-38. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 2010.

Nyberg, Tore. “The Canon Fletcher Manuscripts in Syon Abbey.” In Nordisk Tidskrift för Bok-och Biblioteksväsen, 56-69. Lund: Särtryck, 1960.

Rhodes, J. T. “Syon Abbey and its Religious Publications in the Sixteenth Century.” In Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 11-25. 1993.

Pezzini, Domenico. “’The Meditacion of Oure Lordis Passyon’ and Other Bridgettine Texts in MS Lambeth 432.” In Studies in St Birgitta and the Brigittine Order Vol.1, edited by James Hogg, 276-95. Salzburg, 1993.

Powell, Sue. “Syon Abbey as a Centre for Text Production.” In Saint Birgitta, Syon and Vadstena: Papers from a Symposiumm in Stockholm 4-6 October 2007, edited by C. Gejrot, S. Risberg, & M. Akestam,  50-67. Stockholm: Vitterhets Historie och Antikvitets Akademien, 2010.

Sargent, Michael, ed. “Late Fifteenth- and Early Sixteenth-Century English Religious Books for Lay Readers: Illustration and Layout.” In De Cella in Seculum, 229-244. Boydell & Brewer, 1989.

Whitwell, Robert Jowitt. “An Ordinance for Syon Library, 1482.” In English Historical Review Vol 25, 121-3. Oxford University Press, 1910.

Compiled by Ellen S. Cope (

1 Response to Research Guide

  1. Don Graham says:

    Hi, I was wondering if there may be a list of children born at the Syon Abbey around 1537. One of my ancestors may have been one Robert Howard of Brockdish. Some of the family trees on claim that he was born at the Syon Abbey, and that he was the son of Lord Thomas Howard (1511-1537) and Lady Margaret Douglas (1515-1578). Lord Thomas and Lady Margaret are reported to have been engaged, but did not get permission from King Henry VIII to marry. Lord Thomas was thrown in the Tower of London for this. One account states that Lady Margaret was secreted away to have her child, and that the child was raised by relatives. The Syon Abbey may have been where she went. Any help you may be able give would be appreciated. Regards, Don Graham

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